This International Women’s Day, we took over newspapers The i and The London Evening Standard  for Women’s Aid to highlight signs of domestic violence.

Yesterday, the crosswords in these papers looked and worked like any other newspaper puzzle, but with one key difference: the answers were words relating to coercive control, defined as patterns of psychological and emotional abuse.

Today the answers and explanations to the crossword clues revealed the hidden signs of domestic abuse.

Our campaign, Mind Games, aims to show that although emotional abuse is harder to spot than physical violence, it’s still a crime and can have a devastating effect on women’s lives.

 
Polly Neate, Chief Executive at Women’s Aid, said: “Emotional abuse is the dark heart of domestic abuse. Perpetrators usually begin abusing their victim emotionally – chipping away at her self-esteem and slowly stripping away her control of her life. Physical violence often comes later. It is vital that this is understood by all: that domestic abuse is more than bruises.”

Ross Neil, Executive Creative Director at WCRS, said: “Domestic violence is associated with cuts and bruises. But the truth is the majority of cases involve emotional abuse, and it’s a lot harder to see. We had to create a way of educating people to spot clues that aren’t visual. Using newspaper puzzles allows us to take people on a journey they wouldn’t go on with a print ad. We hope this new use of a familiar format shines a light on a very important issue on International Women’s Day.”