Women's Aid links with Tories to push helpline

Women's Aid is working with the Conservative Party to launch a campaign promoting its helpline services for abused women.

It is the first time that the charity has linked with a political party to promote its services. The partnership will help the Tories in their bid to reinvent themselves as a more caring party.

But Kartja Mahnkopf, policy and communications manager at Women's Aid, said the charity was happy to work with any group that was serious about fighting against domestic violence in the UK.

"We feel that domestic violence is a cross-party issue," she said. "This campaign is absolutely not about giving our support to a particular political party. We're keen to work with all parties towards the implementation of a domestic violence bill in 2003."

Conservative Party volunteers will distribute a poster featuring the charity's helpline number in public places such as doctors' surgeries and hairdressers over the Christmas period.

Women's Aid worked with Caroline Spelman, the shadow minister for women, on the creative and messaging of the domestic violence campaign.

Mahnkopf said she was encouraged that the Conservatives are taking a stand against domestic violence. Spelman's speech at the launch of the campaign was the first time that the MP has spoken publicly on the issue.

The poster - created to look like a family photograph - attempts to raise awareness of the extent of domestic violence in the UK. It includes statistics provided by Women's Aid such as "one in four women in Britain will experience domestic violence". The NSPCC's helpline is also included.

The charity hopes that the shocking imagery and statistics will help show abused women that they are not alone and that Women's Aid could help them.

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