The beauty brands supporting domestic abuse charities during the coronavirus crisis

Ellie Fry
The National Domestic Abuse helpline saw seen a 49 per cent increase in calls during the third week of lockdown: iStock

As the national lockdown continues to help fight the spread of coronavirus, some members of society remain more vulnerable than others. Experts have warned that survivors of domestic abuse are at higher risk under these measures, as self-isolation can potentially aggravate existing abusive behaviour towards women and children.

The lockdown also makes it harder for survivors to flee abusive partners, as they are stuck at home with their perpetrator.

Worryingly, cases are already on the rise: more than 25 frontline domestic abuse services have reported an increase in their caseload since the start of the epidemic, while calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline were up by 49 per cent in the third week of lockdown.

Karen Ingala Smith, the founder of Counting Dead Women, a project that records the killing of women by men in the UK, has reported that domestic abuse killings appear to have doubled during the coronavirus lockdown, after identifying at least 16 suspected killings that occurred between 23 March and 12 April.

This is a huge concern for specialist domestic abuse services, many of which struggled to maintain support for survivors prior to the pandemic due to severe funding cuts under austerity measures.

Since 2010, one in six domestic abuse refuges has had to close its doors due to lack of funding, while 60 per cent of women were turned away from refuges last year.

In response to the crisis, the Home Office initially launched a public awareness campaign on 11 April, as well as a £2m funding boost for domestic abuse helplines and online support services. However, charities and campaigners warned that this funding was not enough to protect vulnerable women and children during the pandemic and they continued to push for more vital funding.

On 2 May, the government announced a new £76m funding package to help support the most vulnerable in society, including survivors of domestic abuse. Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said the package will support refuges facing the strain of the pandemic, as well providing funding for charity helplines.

In such troubling times, it’s hopeful to see the efforts being made to bring domestic abuse to the forefront of national conversation. Journalist Victoria Derbyshire recently presented BBC News with the telephone number for the National Domestic Abuse helpline written on her hand, while Chelsea’s women’s football club recently teamed up with Refuge, a national domestic abuse charity to match donations.

Beauty brands are supporting the coronavirus relief effort too, from donating sanitary products to women’s refuges, to pledging profits to vital domestic abuse services.

Since it has become even more important to support organisations working to protect the safety women and children, we’ve compiled a round-up of beauty brands giving back to domestic abuse services, with information on how you can support them too, whether that’s through purchasing the brands’ products or donating to charity.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence our selection. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Avon

This make-up and skincare brand has long championed the rights and safety of women. It has partnered with Women’s Aid for years to raise money for the charity and awareness of domestic abuse. Responding to the demand for hygiene products, Avon has switched some of its manufacturing lines to produce 600,000 units of hand gel to be available in April, with a proportion of these products being ring-fenced for NHS staff and domestic abuse service users and staff.

The money made from the hand gel sales will go towards Avon’s £150,000 donation to Refuge, to help keep frontline services open during the pandemic.

In response to the donation, Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said: “This will make a huge difference to our services; helping to keep our doors open, whilst providing additional support to our expert team who are now having to run our national services from home environments.”

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Wake Skincare

This independent skincare brand’s ethos is centred around what it calls “generation connected”, referring to how we’re constantly glued to our screens and always connected to work, which can make us feel sluggish and tired.

Its skincare tackles the telltale signs of tiredness, combating dark circles and lacklustre skin with products including an eye gel and face mask. But it also supports survivors of domestic violence, through donating 5 per cent of its net profits to Women’s Aid, as an official partner to the charity.

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The Body Shop

Following the rise of domestic violence during the coronavirus lockdown, The Body Shop has partnered with NO MORE, an organisation dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault globally.

Together, they formed the Isolated Not Alone campaign, which hopes to raise awareness of the hidden dangers of enforced lockdown through sharing vital information for survivors and by calling on governments to prioritise the issue and provide additional funding to support domestic abuse services.

The Body Shop is owned by Natura & Co, a cosmetic group whose collective of brands includes Avon, Nature and Aesop. They are all collaborating resources to tackle the critical issue. Women’s Aid has been chosen as the initiative’s partnering charity in the UK.

David Boynton, The Body Shop’s chief executive, said: “The whole world is going through an incredibly difficult time. Tragically an outcome of this has been a dramatic increase in domestic violence. Though governmental policies are designed to protect people, those at risk of domestic violence are in potentially terrifying situations; isolated with their abusers. The Body Shop has a truly global reach and influence which we want to use to help protect women. Through our campaign, we will mobilise more than 20,000 employees and encourage more than 30 million customers to support this vital cause.”

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The Beauty Banks

Founded in 2018 by beauty experts Sali Hughes and Jo Jones, The Beauty Banks is a UK charity that helps vulnerable people access essential toiletries.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, it started a campaign called #helpinghands, asking for monetary donations (rather than its usual call for products, for hygiene reasons) to provide emergency parcels containing items such as soap, body wash, hand sanitiser and laundry detergent to those in need. The campaign has surpassed its original £50,000 target, and has almost doubled it, so far.

The charity sends supplies to places such as food banks, homeless shelters, NHS trusts and domestic abuse refuges across the UK, and since the success of its campaign, has become an official partner with NHS London, continuing to deliver essentials to frontline health workers.

Donate now

Whitfords

This brand uses 100 per cent plastic-free packaging and vegan, botanical ingredients, with products like hemp and algae face cream and papaya and bakuchiol serum making up its skincare line. As a new family-run independent business, Whitfords is suffering under the coronavirus outbreak, but wants to support vulnerable people in lockdown while keeping itself afloat.

To do this, it has started a Crowdfunder campaign, which you can donate to here, to raise as much money as possible, pledging to donate half of the proceeds to Women’s Aid when the fundraiser ends. The rest of the money will go towards buying ingredients to manufacture a cream for very dry skin, which is much needed after all the hand-washing we’re now doing. Those who donate £20 or more will receive a hand cream in June, which will be vegan, cruelty-free and plastic-free, just like the rest of its products. Although it’s not in official partnership with Women’s Aid, the charity supports the initiative.

On the Crowdfunder page, the brand wrote: “We are worried about many things, the future of our business is obviously one of them, but also the present situation of all those who are now living in lockdown with a violent partner. By supporting this campaign, you help us keep going during the Covid-19 crisis and at the same time help Women’s Aid bring more women and children to safety.”

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Von Norten

This Scandi-inspired skincare brand uses natural, ethically sourced ingredients such as almond oil and cocoa seed butter to create its products, which include body oils, candles, hand creams and lip balms. With sustainability in mind, it also uses recycled plastic and glass for its packaging. The brand is no stranger to supporting charitable initiatives, donating to the Rainforest Action Network and One Tree Planted to help rainforest preservation, but in response to the coronavirus outbreak, it has decided to donate soap bars to Refuge, a national domestic abuse charity. The brand’s founder, Cayla Naesse, said: “I created Von Norten with the idea of a home filled with kindness and nature. As a mother, I feel it’s my responsibility to help other women and show this kindness we so strongly believe in.”

Shop Von Norten online now

Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via its website nationaldahelpline.org.uk