If you have seen pictures of someone with a black dot on their hand, it’s pretty complicated. The Black Dot campaign was started to help victims of domestic abuse by having them draw a black dot on their hand to reach out for help.
— MTV España (@mtvspain) October 15, 2015
The campaign has since closed down its main Facebook page after some claimed it does more harm than good. However, people have continued to post pictures of themselves with black dots.
In September, the campaign posted an “Important Notice,” saying that no officials have been notified of the campaign, which means it could easily devolve into a hoax:
The original ethos for this campaign was to enable a victim to put a dot on their hand around someone they trusted to enable a conversation to start, so they could open that door and hopefully start a process of seeking professional help.
This is an idea, thinking outside of the box, trying to open up the worlds eyes and ears to what is going on in terms of abuse. The idea came from a former domestic violence victim.
Professional bodies have not been advised or trained in the Black Dot, what it symbolises and what it means
When people contact us we open the gates of communication and put them in touch with people who can really help
Putting such a campaign on Facebook was about raising awareness on a social media platform
This isn’t the solution that will help everyone, if anything it should help people realise what abuse is, how it affects people and how to access help.
and most importantly SAFETY MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST. If you see a black dot or are approached by someone for help, if safe to do so take them to safety and get them in contact with the relevant agency. Intervention and support should only be done by professionals.
The aim of the campaign was for friends and family to see a black dot on the hand of the victim and arrange for professional intervention.
However, as domestic violence prevention organization Project Sanctuary noted, it’s a dangerous idea.
“The Black Dot Campaign is a very well-meaning idea, but a bad idea nonetheless,” said Dina Polkinghorne, executive director of Project Sanctuary wrote a statement. “The campaign is getting a lot of attention, so abusers may also be aware of it. They might question why their partner would have the dot on their hand. A well-meaning family member could also see the dot, and inadvertently compound the violence.”
“When would it be appropriate to use it?” she added. “At the grocery store? At the doctor’s office? Someone who was being completely controlled would be told by the abuser that they want to be in the exam room, so the victim would not be able to tell their doctor that they were in a domestic violence situation.”
— Adam Gladstone (@GladstoneOpines) October 14, 2015
Sandra Horley, chief executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, chimed in, saying: “This could have grave consequences – two women a week are killed in England and Wales by a current or former partner, 70 per cent of domestic homicides occur at the point at which a woman separates from a man.
“Refuge would encourage anyone planning to leave an abusive partner to contact a specialist organisation for support.
“If you are frightened of your partner, or concerned about a friend, please visit www.refuge.org.uk.”