Chelsea players have taken part in an online campaign alongside women's charity Refuge to raise money and awareness for sufferers of domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic.
The players, along with Chelsea Women's manager Emma Hayes, have pledged to match all donations to the charity during the next six weeks.
According to Refuge, last year 1.6 million women in the UK suffered from domestic abuse, and many face being trapped with their abusers because of the isolation measures recommended by governments around the world to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Hayes said: ‘I am proud to lead the club’s support of this worthy cause during such a difficult time for so many.
‘There are many things for people to deal with in the present climate but it is important we support the vulnerable and those who may feel alone or without a voice. I hope this campaign can do that and make a difference to those who need support.’
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta added: ‘Domestic violence is such a serious issue in society and we must double our efforts to look after those in danger during this ongoing pandemic. I am so proud of my club for supporting Refuge in their vital work protecting vulnerable women and children.’
Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said: ‘Domestic abuse is the biggest issue affecting women and children in this country. Almost one in three women experience domestic abuse in their lifetimes and two women are killed in England and Wales every week.
‘Thanks to Chelsea FC and its supporters we hope to raise much needed funds and reach many more women experiencing abuse. Together we can save and change lives.’
Refuge provides support for around 6,500 women and children every day, including emergency accommodation, community outreach and a team of child support workers.
Refuge also runs the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, 0808 2000 247, which receives over 270 calls and contacts every day, and a the www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk website which provides additional information and an online form where women can request a safe time to be called back.
Women can also receive automated guidance via Refuge’s techbot on how to secure their devices https://www.refuge.org.uk/our-work/our-services/tech-abuse-empowerment-service/
To donate to the campaign, please click here.