The Home Secretary Priti Patel is backing OK! magazine’s Closet Clear Out campaign, which aims to raise vital funds for Refuge – the UK’s biggest anti-domestic abuse charity. A host of celebrities, including Refuge patron Dame Helen Mirren, Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas, OK! columnist Kym Marsh and EastEnders actresses Lacey Turner and Louisa Lytton have joined the campaign’s launch. They will be sorting through their wardrobes to pick out outfits they no longer wear, which will then be auctioned for the public to buy, with all of the profits going directly to Refuge.
The anti-domestic abuse charity has reported a 50 percent increase in calls and contacts to its helpline, while online requests for help have surged by a huge 400 percent since the UK was placed into lockdown more than six weeks ago.
Home Secretary, Ms Patel, is throwing her full support behind OK!’s Closet Clear Out campaign, and told the magazine: “I commend OK! for giving this issue the national prominence it deserves.
“This campaign will send a strong message that we all see domestic abuse for the despicable crime it is.
“With little contact with the outside world, victims will be feeling trapped or isolated. That’s why campaigns like the OK! Closet Clear Out are so important.
Priti Patel is backing OK! magazine’s Closet Clear Out campaign
The Home Secretary has declared: ‘Coronavirus is no excuse for abuse’
“They let people know help is still available.
“Celebrities’ support means a great deal. Their huge profiles and follower base have helped reach even more people.”
Ms Patel added: “Coronavirus is no excuse for abuse. With little contact with the outside world, victims are feeling trapped or isolated. That’s why this campaign is so important – it lets people know that help is still available.
“I’ve met survivors of domestic abuse and heard their harrowing accounts. I’ve been shocked by the levels of cruelty, but also astounded by the sheer resilience and courage of victims.
OK! magazine has launched the Closet Clear Out campaign
“I’m determined to do everything in my power to protect people from this horrendous crime, and bring perpetrators to justice.”
The Government has pledged £2 million for domestic abuse helplines to provide additional support “in a more covert way”, while there is also a £750 million package of funding to support the charity sector, including domestic abuse charities.
She said the Domestic Abuse Bill, which is currently going through the UK parliament, will see changes in the law to ensure domestic abuse victims are provided with the support they need.
Ms Patel explained the importance and huge impact viral campaigns can make during such difficult times in lockdown and self-isolation, lavishing praise on 100-year-old Captain Tom Moore, who has so far raised more than £32million for the NHS.
Refuge has reported a 50 percent increase in calls and contacts to its helpline since lockdown began
Refuge said online requests for help have surged by a huge 400 percent
The Home Secretary said: “At a time when people are self-isolating or social distancing, viral campaigns are some of the most important tools we have. Just look at the great work done by Captain Tom Moore.
“His walk started as an individual selfless act and ended up bringing the nation together and raising more than £32 million for the NHS.
“Captain Moore is an exceptional example, but the power of social media at times like this shouldn’t be underestimated,”
In a direct message to victims of domestic abuse, Ms Patel said: “Please don’t lose hope.
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Priti Patel has told domestic abuse victims ‘you’re not alone’
“We haven’t forgotten you. You’re not alone and help, including from the police, is always available.”
Dame Helen, patron of Refuge said: “Self-isolation is a strange time for us all, but it’s so important that we look out for vulnerable women and children who are experiencing domestic abuse right now. So I am very pleased to support Refuge and the Closet Clear Out campaign.”
Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said: “We’re very grateful to OK! and the support it’s providing Refuge, so we can continue to deliver vital services to those that need them.
“Self-isolation has the potential to increase the threat of domestic abuse. Our staff work round the clock to make sure our services remain open, safe and available.”
To bid on your favourite celebrity’s item of clothing to raise money for Refuge, supporting victims of domestic abuse, head over to OK!’s Closet Clear Out eBay shop.
And if you would like to take part in OK! Closet Clear Out Campaign yourself, just #CREATE space in your wardrobe, #DONATE £5 to Refuge and #NOMINATE friends to do the closet clear-out.
Text OK4REFUGE 5 to 70480 to donate £5.
*Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text OK4REFUGENOINFO 5 to 70480.
If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, call the Refuge Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. It’s staffed 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week, with a dedicated team of experts to help. If you are in immediate danger, call 999.
If you can’t talk and are on a mobile, press 55 when prompted and you will be connected to local police who will help without the need for you to speak.