Hurt blocker: YouTube stars target teenagers to prevent domestic violence in adulthood

A range of social media's brightest stars have joined forces with the Government as part of the Home Office's This Is Abuse campaign

YouTube and Twitter are usually prime places for youngsters to mock ministers, whip up dissent and do battle with the government. So why have a range of social media's brightest stars just joined forces with it?

Charlie McDonnell, Jamal Edwards, Mandem on the Wall and Twist and Pulse (who have many millions of impressionable subscribers between them) have each produced their own video on the subject of sexual consent and abuse within relationships. It is a new phase of the Home Office's This Is Abuse campaign, this time specifically targeting male teenagers online to prevent domestic violence in adulthood.

The project sits against a backdrop of quite astonishing levels of abuse – and ignorance – among British children. A third of girls and 16 per cent of boys have experienced sexual violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend, according to the NSPCC, and when it comes to emotional violence from a partner, three quarters of girls and half of boys have been victims.

Almost a third of young people say they did not learn about consent in sex education lessons, according to a survey by the National Children's Bureau. And research by the Office of the Children's Commissioner found that "the notion of actively seeking consent is largely alien to young people", for whom sexual violence and coercion perpetrated by other youngsters has become "normalised". Only one in 12 of those interviewed said young people would be likely to report sexual crimes or even speak to a friend.

The films, which went live yesterday, are designed to reach boys in language and on platforms that they will relate to, as part of an ongoing Home Office drive (which has included slots on MTV and ads that tied into a Hollyoaks storyline). For their part, the new media mavens say they see it as their duty to raise serious issues with their audiences – and perhaps also provide a counterbalance in an age of sexting and popstars who garner number one hits celebrating "Blurred Lines".

Mandem on the Wall is an online comedy series starring three young actors and writers, whose first episode broached the London riots. Weren't they hesitant about teaming up with an arm of the state? Dee Kartier, one of the trio, says: "That's something a lot of people are afraid of, because you think you're going to lose that cool factor if you do. But we've built up a nice relationship with our fans. They understand us." His co-star, Percelle Ascott, 20, adds: "We have a massive influence on the younger generation, but we take great privilege in that."

"As a young man, it's hard to admit that you're wrong sometimes," says 26-year-old Kartier. "When I was growing up, the status of being a man in society was about being tough and having an exterior. I felt that showing that part of you was almost too sensitive sometimes. The main thing is, we want people to talk."

However, while the Coalition thinks discussion of these issues is important, it seems that this only stretches as far as YouTube – and not the classroom. At exactly the same time as the Home Office is promoting pre-emptive messages, the Department for Education is steadfastly rejecting calls (from Mumsnet and Women's Aid, among others) for teaching about relationships to be made compulsory in all schools. So much for joined-up Government.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker tells The Independent that his team takes the agenda seriously because: "We have a duty to minimise harm to young people in particular. Women have generally been treated pretty badly by men for centuries, really. There's that historic legacy to deal with."

And his explanation for the contradiction across departments: "I don't think it's a Tory/ Lib Dem thing," he insists. "I think these things come down to philosophy and personality as much as anything else."

Holly Dustin, of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, heaps praise on the Home Office for "really leading the way". But she describes Education Secretary Michael Gove's position as "a bit baffling". "It's disappointing. It means that a really good policy and campaign won't have the impact it should."

www.thisisabuse.co.uk

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?