Teenager sex attack figures 'shocking' says Nick Clegg

 

Nick Clegg told a group of teenage girls today that he found it
"shocking" that a third of their peers have reported they have
experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend.

Many young people dismiss the idea of "date-rape", believing the offence only occurs on rare occasions, and think that sexual attacks are more likely to occur at the hands of a stranger, according to the Government.

Visiting a rape crisis centre in Ealing, west London, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke to a group of 16, 17 and 18-year-old girls from a local school about the issues after they were shown a new Government-funded TV advert which aims to challenge the myths around sexual attacks.

He told the schoolgirls: "I think, for far too many people, they think rape is something that happens when you meet a stranger in a dark alley who inflicts physical violence on you.

"What we're trying to do with this advert is make sure that people know it's about, maybe, familiar relationships with people you've known for a long time, and maybe there's no violence involved at all.

"That's why it's so hard-hitting, because we really need to shift the way people think about this."

A cinema and online advertising campaign are also part of the coalition push to address the issue. Funded by the Home Office, it builds on the Government's wider This Is Abuse campaign, which aims to help teenagers develop healthy relationships.

Mr Clegg told reporters: "We've got such a highly sexualised culture at the moment and there are huge pressures.

"Any parent of a teenage girl will tell you there's huge pressures on teenage girls to conform to behave in a particular way, and I just think it's really important we give them the protection they need that when they say 'no' it means 'no' and the law is on their side.

"It's not normal, frankly, for governments to do things like this or for politicians to talk about it. But I think the scale of the problem now is big, and it's a really big problem for a lot of teenagers and we need to address it."

He added: "What this ad campaign is seeking to achieve is to send an incredibly strong message to teenagers, and particularly to teenage boys, that, if you have sex with a girl who doesn't want to and doesn't consent, you're committing rape - it's a crime.

"When a girl says 'no', no means no, means no. There's no ifs and buts.

"When you've got a situation where a third of teenage girls say they have been subject to sexual coercion and abuse, when lots of teenagers say in surveys that they think it's OK for a boy to expect to have sex with a girl they spend time with, something's going wrong and we need to challenge it, and this is a very hard-hitting advertisement which challenges all of that."

NSPCC research shows that the problem is not just confined to girls, with 16% of boys also reporting that they have experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend.

It found that the highest proportion of sexual abuse - 66% - is perpetrated by young people under the age of 18.

The adverts are aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds and feature a teenage girl being coerced into sex by a boy as a party goes on downstairs.

The girl says "I don't want to", but the boy persists. A double of the boy then appears, watching the scene from behind an invisible wall.

The viewer is asked "If you could see yourself, would you see rape?"

The adverts will run for a month on youth TV channels, starting tonight, during programmes such as E4's Skins.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who also took part in the discussion with the youngsters, said: "Teenagers are inundated with information about relationships, from their friends, the internet and TV.

"This campaign aims to dispel the myths that can lead to acceptance of rape in relationships.

"Bringing the issue out in the open will help teenagers feel confident about challenging abuse when they see it and ultimately protect potential victims."

PA

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?