Victims upset at abuse adverts Protests at child abuse adverts

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The Independent Online
AN ADVERTISING campaign aimed at encouraging people to report child abuse has provoked a barrage of complaints from viewers, 50 of whom were victims of abuse who found the adverts a distressing reminder of their childhood.

The adverts, created for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and aired in May, showed symbols of childhood - such as teddy- bear wallpaper and Spice Girl posters - while plying a soundtrack of children being abused, with adults screaming at children or threatening violence. In one advert a man's voice could be heard preparing to sexually abuse a child.

More than 150 viewers complained to the television regulator the Independent Television Commission that the advert was too hard-hitting, especially for children to see. Some also complained that it implied that only parents abused children while some feared that it could make abusers see their behaviour as normal.

Most worrying for the Independent Television Commission were the complaints from 46 viewers who had been abused as children and who found the adverts too realistic a reminder of their own abuse.

However, the ITC said it had decided to allow the adverts to continue because they were for a charity and because the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said it had made arrangements for counselling for those distressed by the advert.

Mike Taylor, the NSPCC's director of children's services, said: "We estimate that 90 per cent of the UK public saw our recent TV advertisements and the response to our Full Stop campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. Over half a million people have pledged to help us end cruelty to children. Survivors of abuse have been particularly supportive because they want the Full Stop campaign to succeed so that children do not suffer as they did."