WLSV asks viewers to listen to voices of family violence survivors in new film via Commoner

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 1.34.20 pm.jpgMelbourne creative agency Commoner has worked with Women's Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) to create an ad to raise awareness of the experiences of women across Victoria experiencing domestic violence.

Commoner, which produces creative video content for direct clients and agencies, was engaged by WLSV to create a film that safely tells the stories of their clients and illustrates the vital work they do in the community. Their stories are often not told because of fear of reprisals.

Commoner creative director Mark Welker said that the stories of the women who WLSV had worked with were horrific and sobering to read, but it was the aftermath of the violence that sparked the agency's interest in ensuring their stories were shared.

Says Welker: "It's easy to assume that escaping the situation ends the trauma of family violence, but we learned through this collaboration that for many women it's just the beginning."
The video's concept was crafted by Commoner, director Thomas Hyland and cinematographer Sky Davies to shed light on the commonly untold stories.

"With WLSV we knew we had a responsibility to share the message that for many who separate from family violence, escape is not an easy option. Many women stay in abusive relationships longer due to a lack of avenues of support and knowledge of what options are available to them."

Women's Legal Service Victoria CEO Joanna Fletcher said family violence was one of the biggest injustices facing Australians today.

Says Fletcher: "Women's Legal Service Victoria assists around 3500 women every year and we know how important it is for the voices of family violence survivors to be heard by the wider community. Unfortunately, a lot of our clients are not in a position to tell their story in a safe way. The risk of reprisal attacks as well as restrictions under family law can make speaking out very difficult for the women we work with."

While the story shared in the video through a voiceover artist is a real story, actor Susie Dee agreed to act the part of the woman and deliver the performance. 

Says Fletcher: "We reached out to Commoner to see if they could help one of our clients tell her own story in a safe way. Commoner were able to protect our client's anonymity without losing the impact of her story.

"When women escape family violence they often continue to be subjected to physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse at the hands of their ex-partners. Often for years. Escape is no easy option. We work with women to help them rebuild their lives after family violence by providing comprehensive legal assistance and complementary financial counselling and social work support."

All cast, crew and post-production working on the project provided their time pro-bono to support the cause.

To view more of Commoner's work visit www.commoner.com.au/.

Actor - Susie Dee
Client - Anna Barnes
Production Manager - Raylene O'Hare (Commoner)
Producer - Katie Boyts (Commoner)
Director - Thomas Hyland
Creative Director/Editor - Mark Welker (Commoner)
Cinematographer - Sky Davies
Sound Recordist - Juan Pablo Martinez
Makeup Artist - Natalie Burley
Grip - Dan Mitton
Gaffer - Tim Goodacre
Camera Assist - Kitty May Allwood
Editing Assist - Caitlin Weymouth
Colourist - Nicholas Hower
Sound Mix - Martin Kay

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