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Praise as charity latches onto global dress debate

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​Salvation Army uses dress debate to highlight domestic violence

It got the whole world talking from President Obama and David Cameron, to reality TV celebrities and legends from the music industry – as well practically every workplace in Britain.

Alana MacInnes, of Uist, and Caitlin McNeill, from Colonsay, asked people online whether they saw a dress worn to a wedding as gold and white or blue and black and soon went global.

Now a charity has latched onto the world-wide debate to expose domestic violence against women.

The Salvation Army campaign asks why it so hard to tackle abuse against women. It features a woman with bruises in a gold and white dress with the message: "Why is it so hard to see black and blue."

Capitalising on the garment's notoriety, the tag line reads: “The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”

South African advertising agency Ireland/Davenport created the advert and approached Carehaven, a refuge for women (and their children) in the country trying to escape violence and abuse from a partner or an ex.

It has been shared thousands of times online, with Twitter users among those to praise the charity's clever adopting of the trend.

“So clever! Advertising at its best!'" was how one user described it.

"Really like this clever way @SalvationArmySA used #TheDress to send a powerful message" said Hayley Slaughter while Kara Rose described the campaign as "clever and powerful."

Andrew Blakeley added: "The best hijacking of the online culture I've seen recently. Bravo to the Salvation Army."

"The dress debate put to socially good use! I like a lot," said another.

A spokesperson for The Salvation Army said: 'The Salvation Army sees the devastating effects of domestic violence on women, men and children every day.

"We support people who are affected in our human trafficking work, our specialist services, Lifehouses and community centres.

"We know that one in four women are victims of domestic violence in the UK: this innovative and powerful campaign by The Salvation Army in South Africa highlights that domestic violence is often overlooked by society.

'We hope this image helps people to see the true impact of this crime.”