TV ads starring pop and soap stars are being used to ramp up a Government campaign highlighting abuse in teenage relationships, the Home Office announced. Two ads will run on Channel 4 and MTV this evening as part of the This is Abuse campaign.
One of the teen-focused anti-abuse adverts airing for the first time tonight depicts a domestic abuse scenario involving characters from Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.
The ad, which is part of a Government campaign, shows Hollyoaks character Patrick, played by Jeremy Sheffield, manipulating his partner Maxine, played by Nikki Sanderson. It carries the slogan 'Relationship abuse isn't always physical'
Hollyoaks stars Nikki Sanderson and Jeremy Sheffield, who are involved in a domestic abuse storyline in the Channel 4 soap, discuss on Daybreak the subtle warning signs leading up to domestic violence as the Government announces a TV ad campaign to highlight abuse in teenage relationships.
It is "very important" an anti-abuse campaign filters into schools so teenage boys and girls are warned about destructive behaviour, a Home Office minister told Daybreak.
Norman Baker said the Home Office had a "downloadable pack" available to teachers should they wish to educate their pupils about the violent and coercive characteristics of abuse.
The Lib Dem MP explained: "We know that about one in three girls and one in six boys gets some sort of sexual or physical abuse. It is very important we stamp this out before it becomes an adult activity.
"We have got to educate boys in particular about what abuse actually is. Sometimes, what they think they are doing, they don't think is abuse, when actually, it is."
Women's campaigners want an anti-teenage abuse campaign to be "built upon" in schools so children understand "consensual and respectful relationships".
End Violence Against Women Coalition director Holly Dustin explained:
We need to wake up to the fact that girls and young women are subject to distressingly high levels of abuse from boyfriends and other peers including coercive 'sexting', 'groping' in school corridors, as well as physical abuse and rape.
So we applaud the Home Office for making a long term investment in the essential task of preventing abuse through its long running 'This Is Abuse' campaign to tackle harmful attitudes and behaviours.
This should now be built upon with work in schools around consensual and respectful relationships, and ensuring specialist support for young survivors and abusers.
– End Violence Against Women Coalition director Holly Dustin