Domestic violence victims are drawing black dots on their hands to silently ask for help

By Jamie Roberton: ITV News

Victims of domestic violence are drawing black dots on their hands to silently ask for help.

The Black Dot campaign has attracted more than 40,000 likes on Facebook since it was started by a domestic violence survivor earlier this month.

As the symbol becomes more widely recognised, it is hoped people who see a black dot on their friend or relative's hand can approach them about their abuse.

The founder of the campaign, who wishes to remain anonymous, told ITV News that it has given victims "hope and strength".

But it has attracted criticism, with many claiming that perpetrators of abuse will also soon recognise the symbol - potentially triggering their wrath.

The campaign has received a mixed response. Credit: Black Dot campaign

The founder said her own experiences had prompted her to start the campaign.

"For five years I experienced emotional, physical and sexual abuse - it is the loneliest, scariest place to be," she said.

The campaign, she said, had started a much-needed "conversation" about the "taboo" subject.

"It has opened up conversations and given people hope and strength.

"People have shared their stories on the Facebook page and most importantly people are talking about domestic violence - it's not a taboo subject anymore."

The campaign has been widely shared, reaching millions on Facebook. Credit: Black Dot campaign

However, charities have urged caution.

"It can be really difficult for some victims to communicate their abuse so we think it's good for women to have a range of options available to them," Alice Stride, from Women's Aid, told ITV News.

"But we also know that perpetrators monitor their victims very closely so anything different about them can be very dangerous.

"We always advise victims to contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline."

Sandra Horley, chief executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, also expressed concern.

She told ITV News that victims risk "grave consequences" if their abusive partners recognised the dot.

Some have questioned whether the technique puts victims at more risk. Credit: Black Dot campaign

Responding to the criticism, the founder said: "It's not a solution for everyone.

"The Black Dot idea is like a screwdriver in a toolbox - it's one of many tools; it's not a tool you'll always use but it's a tool you might use at some point.

"We have to be mindful that victims are not stupid people - they will not put themselves at risk.

"If it's not safe to draw a black dot on their hand, they won't."

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