Campaign warns teens over abusive relationships

Teenage boys were urged not to violently abuse their girlfriends in a new Government campaign launched today.

TV, radio, internet and poster ads will target young males aged 13 to 18 in an attempt to show the consequences of abusive relationships.

It is part of a wider effort by ministers to cut domestic violence against both women and younger girls.

Research published last year by the NSPCC found a quarter of teenage girls said they had been physically abused by their boyfriends.

One in six said they had been pressured into sex and one in three said they had gone further sexually than they had wanted to.

The TV adverts, which were directed by acclaimed film-maker Shane Meadows, show a girl being bullied and threatened by her boyfriend.

The posters feature a teenage boy in a hooded top with the slogans: "Do you make her weak at the knees because she's scared of you? Does her heart beat faster when you threaten her? Do you charm the pants off her or does a slap work better?"

Midlands-born Meadows, who directed This Is England and Dead Man's Shoes, said: "Teen violence is a subject that is close to my heart as I grew up in a place where violence and bullying were an integral part of life and accepted as the norm.

"My job as director was to make sure that these adverts are compelling, real and utterly authentic.

"They give you the chance to look back at yourself and your actions, and have a moment when you can step out of the immediacy and complexity of the moment. They show you that there is another choice."

Home Secretary Alan Johnson 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."

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