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Cawley Nea\TBWA Encourages People to Report Domestic Violence with ‘You’re Not a Bystander, You’re a Witness’

Cosc and Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland combat domestic violence by challenging long established societal behaviours

Cawley Nea\TBWA Encourages People to Report Domestic Violence with ‘You’re Not a Bystander, You’re a Witness’

With the aim of increasing awareness of domestic violence, Cawley Nea\TBWA has created a new campaign for Cosc - the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, an executive office of the Department of Justice and Equality. 

The campaign insight, ‘You’re not a Bystander, You’re a Witness’, activates bystanders and informs them of their role in decreasing and preventing domestic violence where it is safe and legal to do so. 

The TV films were shot by 2016 Academy Award Winner, Benjamin Cleary (‘Stutterer’, Best Short Film (Live Action)); while internationally acclaimed photographer, Alex Telfer, developed OOH and extensive visual assets. The campaign is also supported with digital, a national radio campaign as well as a new website: 

In broadcast, the bystanders we encounter find themselves numb and conflicted by the situations in which they find themselves - and as viewers and listeners, we share their unease. In this way, the campaign succeeds in being affecting and disturbing without explicitly depicting any violence. 

Deirdre Waldron, Cawley Nea\TBWA, comments: “When we witness domestic abuse, but ignore it, we leave a victim behind. Over 300,000 people in Ireland have experienced severe abuse by a partner, so this is a serious and widespread problem that needs to be addressed with the attention it deserves. The intention of this campaign is to send a clear and unequivocal message that this violence is totally unacceptable and must stop. We want to instigate a change in long-established societal behaviours and attitudes by recognising that anyone can be a victim of such crimes.”

The Tánaiste (Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Justice and Equality, Ms Frances Fitzgerald T.D., summarised the aims of the campaign as follows: “My aspiration for this public awareness campaign is that it will educate all of us. As relatives, friends, neighbours and bystanders, we have an important role in helping to prevent domestic and sexual violence and our intervention, if it is safe to do so, will significantly impact those affected by this intolerable violence by offering hope and support.”

The campaign is a key action of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021. Cawley Nea\TBWA recently won the initial three-year contract, following an EU tendering process for the creative aspect of a national awareness campaign. The campaign is spearheaded by The Tánaiste (Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Justice and Equality, Ms Frances Fitzgerald T.D., who secured funding for the campaign which gives effect to one of the main strands of the strategy. 

The campaign will be launched by The Tánaiste on 16th November 2016 and the first TV spots will air on 18th November 2016.

*Bystanders should only intervene if safe to do so. Before you get involved, ask yourself if it’s safe and legal to intervene. If the situation is already violent or looks like its escalating quickly, don’t directly intervene. Call the Gardaí on 999. The only effective bystander intervention is a non-violent one.


Advertiser: Cosc

Creative Agency

Creative Agency: Cawley Nea\TBWA

Creative Director: Adam Crane

Copywriter: Niall McDonnell

Art Director: Adam Crane and Cian Tormey

Planner: Katie Jones

CEO: Deirdre Waldron

Senior Account Manager: Niamh McDermott

Agency Production: Alexandra Cullen

Finished Artist: Gosia Sitek

Planning Director: Mark Nolan

Developer: Johan Sand, Carlos Garcia, Paola Beas (Web Design and Development)

Account Director: Linda O'Connell

Production Company

Production Company: Assembly

Executive Producer: Rebecca Bourke

Director: Ben Cleary


Editor: Jake Walshe

Post Production / VFX

Post Production Company: Screen Scene

Grade: Screen Scene


Sound Engineer: Mark Richards

Sound Design: Mutiny

Genre: Digital , PR