Teenage domestic violence tackled by advert campaign
Press release issued: 16 February 2010
An advertising campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence in teenage relationships has been launched by the Home Office. The campaign follows research by the NSPCC, which was led by the University of Bristol's Centre for Family Policy and Child Welfare.
The campaign follows research by the NSPCC, which was led by Christine Barter, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Family Policy and Child Welfare. The research study was the first in Great Britain to provide a detailed picture of the incidence and impact of teenage partner violence.
The adverts will target boys and girls aged 13 to 18, urging them not to use violence against their girlfriends.
The £2m TV, radio, internet and poster campaign is part of a government strategy announced last year to reduce violence against women and girls.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said it was essential to change attitudes in order to stop abuse against females.
He said: "We want to see young people in safe and happy relationships and this means tackling attitudes towards abuse at an early age, before patterns of violence can occur.
"We hope this campaign will help teenagers to recognise the signs of abuse and equip them with the knowledge and confidence to seek help, as well as understanding the consequences of being abusive or controlling in a relationship."
The NSPCC study suggested a quarter of girls aged 13 to 17 had experienced physical violence from a boyfriend and a third had been pressured into sexual acts they did not want.
The children's charity said it was alarmed by the number of young people who viewed abuse in relationships as normal.
Diana Sutton of the NSPCC said she hoped the campaign would encourage teenagers to come together to tackle the problem.
"Many teenagers perhaps don't talk to their parents and maybe it's not that comfortable to talk to a teacher," she said.
"So any initiative like this that reaches out and gets them to talk about it amongst their peer group will be very important, and really say it's absolutely not appropriate to punch, or hit, or slap, or pressure your partner into early sex."
Christine Barter said long-term intervention in schools was also needed.
"[They need] to look at what is happening in peoples' relationships, to say to them, 'This is a serious issue, we do take your relationship seriously, we take the concerns you have in those relationships seriously'.... to challenge the violence and intimidation and control that is in those teenage relationships as it is in adult relationships."