25 November 2020

Fighting for an end to domestic violence

Prof Eylem Atakav on her new film, which sheds a light on those helping to tackle domestic abuse. 


Over the past few months Karoline Pelikan (Pelikan Pictures) and I have been working on a new film, and have recorded over twenty interviews with extraordinary people working selflessly in the frontline of domestic abuse services in the UK as well as representatives from a range of charities, parliamentarians, NHS professionals, and the Police.

“It's not just a job for any of us, we are technically a lifeline”: voices from the frontline of domestic abuse services during lockdown


At the heart of the project is the desire to shed light on and collect visible and audible evidence of the experiences of individuals who work tirelessly and passionately in providing support to those who need it, in the midst of a pandemic. Lifeline amplifies the experiences of key workers and key players of the domestic abuse services in the UK from their own voices and images. 

The pandemic is global, but the interviews reveal clearly that its implications on domestic abuse services very much hit home, and that it took a pandemic to make more visible the issue of domestic abuse. The film celebrates all involved in the fight for ending domestic violence, and kudos to those who are helping victims become survivors with each call, each message, each meeting.

As an academic and filmmaker I feel responsible for collecting stories and experiences, and equally responsible for creating visible evidence of the present. With COVID, we are all acquiring new emotions, and new ways of expressing them. We need to take time to understand each other’s stories so that we can become more empathetic and inclusive. The film celebrates the stories of all those working selflessly in the domestic abuse sector in England, and highlight the great work being done by the sector in the most challenging of circumstances. Because, it’s not just a job for domestic abuse services’ key workers, they are a lifeline.


'Lifeline' premiers on White Ribbon Day, Wednesday 25 November. Watch the film here

Join 'Lifeline' co-directors Prof Eylem Atakav and Karoline Pelikan as they lead an online discussion between the project's contributors, followed by an audience Q&A, at 6.30pm on Monday 30 November. Find out more and register.