Safe Steps

RMIT Capstone Project 2020

*This project is a proactive creative exercise and is not affiliated with Safe Steps.

The Fast Version

The Slow Version

Key Insight

The united Nations Population fund made estimated that for every 3 months of lockdown, there would be an additional 15 million cases of gender-based violence. Thats 15 million cases every 3 months since December last year!


Safe Steps Motivates, Educates, and gives Courage to domestic violence Survivors, enabling them to live freely.


Our process was not linear, as we constantly circled back to research. Making sure that our research informed every aspect of our final creations. constantly checking our campaign strategy matched the needs of the brand and most importantly the consumer. Making sure our campaign was the correct tone and structure to reach out to a vulnerable community.

Domestic Violence Research

Barriers to Seeking Help Escaping Domestic Violence

To answer this brief we first needed to understand why people don’t leave violent relationships straight away and what are the key barriers to leaving. Manipulation and coercive control play a large role in domestic violence, the abuser often uses incrementally building control over their victim (Williamson 2010). Williamson goes on to argue that by living in this false reality, women often lose their sense of worth and with that their ability to leave their partner.

The second reason we identified was many women don’t recognise the early signs of abuse. Many survivors refer to it as the ‘slow subtle path…[whereby] emotional bonds are developed (Cordero 2014)’. Survivor Leslie Morgan Steiner (2012) Talked about her experience, revealing that she was the ‘typical’ victim in that she knew nothing of the signs of domestic violence. Her experience started with false power, isolation, threatening, and finally physical abuse. This implies that many victims are under-informed on what a loving relationship entails and what is abusive behaviour. Fugate, Landis, Riordan, Naureckas, and Engel (2005) found that the greatest influence on women leaving relationships were their family, friends, and communities.

Furthermore, victims/survivors who have strong social safety nets are much less likely to return to their abusive partners. We used these insights and much more research to influence our campaign design advert structure.

Domestic Violence During a Pandemic

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has estimated that for every three months of lockdown, there will be an additional 15 million cases of gender-based violence globally (Hudson, Lowenstein & Hoenig 2020). Australia has not been absent from these statistics, the national hotline 1800-respect has seen a rise of 12% between May and August (Leigh 2020). However, the percentage of people experiencing domestic violence who have not reached out is probably much higher. Many victims are facing domestic violence alone during this pandemic without ‘All of the normal supports (Callaway cited in Leigh 2020)’. However, the lockdown is not the only factor leading to increased family violence. Many families are under a huge amount of stress right now, as a byproduct of the pandemic. Whether caused by fear, financial hardship, insecurity or loss of a facility member, the population’s anxiety is at an all time high. Kumar (2020) anticipates that this anxiety may lead to stress altercations, conflict, anger and violence in the household. This shadow pandemic cannot be fixed by wearing a mask or washing your hands. That is why we chose Safe Steps, working creatively to help people.

Target Audience

Our target audience broadly covers the entire population of Victoria. However, during our research we identified key pockets in this group.

Firstly we found that young women between 15 and 34 account for 53% of sexual assault victims in Australia.

We also found that within the LGBTQI+ community Around 28% of male-identifying persons and 41% of female-identifying persons reported having been in a relationship

where a partner was abusive. From this we found that our campaign would have to be inclusive and focus on younger victorians.

Campaign Structure

Our campaign is a three step roadmap that follows the outlines of the Victorian state governments COVID-19 restrictions. We chose to stagger the release to ensure we are projecting the right messaging for the social climate and using the best media to reach our consumers.

Phase One

This campaign is delivered to consumers homes via online platforms and snail mail. As Melbourne is still in stage 4 it was imperative to focus on media that the consumers would be able to see during their day to day lives.

The sticker delivered by snail mail and the profile filter, enables communities to show their support in a socially distanced manner. Enabling victims to feel protected and seen in their community. Making it safer for them to leave. Along with this we also have instagram and facebook adverts, informing victims that they can leave during lockdown and Safe Steps is here to help. We also used non traditional facebook advertising, using direct messages we reach out to consumers who have interacted with our posts asking them if they’re OK. This adds a personal touch to the campaign and may be the push a victim needs to leave the relationship.

Lastly, we launched a new website, Lovk works as a safe page for victims to go. It does not show any branding or sign that it is domestic violence related to help those who’s digital footprint is being tracked.

#LOVK and adverts will be used sparingly on victim chat boards on Reddit and mom blogs. keeping it a secret while creating a movement.

Overall this campaign focuses on Safe Steps goal to deliver direct outcomes to victims/survivors. Empowering both victims and communities to act against abuse.

Phase Two

This Phase uses some outdoor advertising, acknowledging the ease of restrictions and the greater mobility of the consumer. What love isn’t focuses on Safe Steps goal of education and advocacy. The online content will use analytics to directly target young adults. While the posters and outdoor adverts will be placed along public transport and shopping centres in proximity to schools and universities. The posters are bold and eye catching, with the message front and centre. However, the main part of this campaign is the brochure that will be distributed in schools and universities. Educating young people and red flags in relationships and starting an open conversation about abuse in schools and homes.

Phase 3

The last campaign aims to build brand awareness by 20%. This the logo and brand name is the hero of each creative piece. We played with the word steps in our designs and tag lines. Phase three will be released during COVID normal, thus more of the campaign is outside as we expect people to be spending more time than ever out of their homes after lockdown. The posters and online advertisements all focus around using the logo as stairs. We want the audience to think of Safe Steps every time they see a staircase, solidifying in their long term memory through associations. Our Ambient advert is the main piece for this phase, the design will be placed on famous steps around Melbourne and Victoria, Such as Federation Square and The State Library. To ensure maximum traffic the design will also be in major shopping centres across the state. This campaign will ensure everyone knows who Safe Steps are and an informed Victoria is a safer Victoria.

Overall this campaign will achieve three of the four goals outlined by Safe Steps in their 2020-2023 strategic plan.

This project was a group effort so thank you to my creative directors Katrina Chung and Dylan Collaga!!

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, AIHW - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,

  2. Callaway cited in & Sales, L 2020, ‘7:30 Report’, ABC Iview, viewed 22 September 2020, <>.

  3. Cordero, A. 2014, Understanding experiences of female survivors of domestic violence: Stories of strength, resilience, and mechanisms that assist in leaving violent relationships, Utah State University.

  4. Fugate, M, Landis, L, Riordan, K, Naureckas, S & Engel, B 2005, ‘Barriers to Domestic Violence Help Seeking’, Violence Against Women, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 290–310.

  5. HealthTalk (2020). Women’s experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse - Recognising domestic violence and abuse. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 August. 2020].

  6. Hudson, LC, Lowenstein, EJ & Hoenig, LJ 2020, ‘Domestic Violence in the COVID-19 Era: Insights from a Survivor’, Clinics in Dermatology.

  7. Leigh, S 2020, ‘7:30 Report’, ABC Iview, viewed 22 September 2020, <>

  8. Leslie Morgan Steiner 2013, Transcript of ‘Why domestic violence victims don’t leave’, TED, viewed 25 August 2020, <>.

  9. Pitts, M., Smith, A., Mitchell, A., & Patel, S. (2006). Private lives: A report on the health and wellbeing of GLBTI Australians. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society.

  10. Williamson, E. (2010) ‘Living in the World of the Domestic Violence Perpetrator: Negotiating the Unreality of Coercive Control’, Violence Against Women, 16(12), pp. 1412–1423. doi: 10.1177/1077801210389162.

  11. All stock photos used in the final executions were from:

Unsplash 2000, Beautiful Free Images & Pictures | Unsplash,