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#Refuge launches hard-hitting short film about a woman who escapes her violent partner during lockdown

Refuge has now launched a new short film starring award-winning actor Maxine Peake, to draw attention to the huge numbers of women reaching out to its services during lockdown, and to remind women living with domestic abuse that Refuge’s life-saving specialist support services are here for them.

Maxine stars alongside award-winning TV, film and stage actor, Lex Shrapnel, in Surfaces, which is available to view on the Refuge website, and through its YouTube channel.

In the 11-minute story directed by Steve Reeves, Peake and Shrapnel play Alix and Richard. The married couple in their 40s started a whirlwind romance five years ago, which quickly descended into physical and mental abuse towards Alix. Filmed entirely over a real conference call, lockdown has just started – but Alix isn’t at home and Richard is ‘worried’ about her whereabouts.

After two days of unsuccessfully trying to reach her, Richard finally gets through on a video call. At first, his wife seems cool and distant, saying she’s simply left him. But all is not as it seems. The conversation gradually reveals the horror of Richard’s controlling coercion and abuse throughout their relationship. As the story unfolds, we understand that Alix has lived her marriage to Richard in lockdown – isolated and in fear. Ironically, it is the COVID lockdown and her one hour of exercise that provides her with the opportunity she needs to escape to a refuge. Alix has finally found safety and expert support, and is taking the first steps to rebuilding her life free from violence and abuse.

Surfaces sends a clear message of hope to survivors. Whether they have already fled their perpetrator, or are still living in constant fear, it tells them that there is a life after abuse, and that support is available – and that they are not alone. Refuges are still open and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is still running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The film ends with details of how to get in touch with Refuge and access its Helpline.

You can view the film on Refuge’s website here.

For help and support if you are experiencing Domestic Abuse in Warwickshire:

Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 408 1552

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

The Mix (for under 25s): 0808 808 4994

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428

In an emergency, dial 999.



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