Helping teenagers spot signs of abuse

POLICE are backing a powerful advertising campaign to challenge the attitudes of teenagers to violence and abuse in relationships which has been launched by the Home Office.

Cleveland Police are backing the TV, cinema, outdoor and online advertising campaign to help teenagers recognise abusive behaviour at an early stage before it escalates to physical violence.

It comes after a survey showed 75 per cent of girls and half of boys reported they have experienced some form of emotional abuse.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter McPhillips, head of public protection for Cleveland Police, said: “Domestic abuse continues to be a priority for Cleveland Police.

“We now recognise that some young people are in abusive relationships and are working closely with our partners across Teesside to tackle this issue and educate young people so that they can recognise inappropriate behaviour, realise that it is unacceptable and make a change or seek help.”

The adverts are directed towards 13 to 18-year-olds and feature young couples in a variety of settings and viewers are challenged to identify controlling behaviour and to reconsider their own attitudes about what is acceptable behaviour in relationships.

All the adverts point young people towards a website where they can find information, seek help and chat with their peers.

The site is designed to encourage sharing of the campaign materials across social networks and will also host live web chats with experts.

Parliamentary Under Secretary for Equalities and Criminal Information, Lynne Featherstone, said: “Bringing the issue out in the open will help teenagers feel confident to challenge abusive behaviour when they experience it or see it.”

The campaign, funded by the Home Office, is part of a long-term communications plan to tackle violence and challenge attitudes that relationship abuse is acceptable.

The website is www.direct.gov.uk/thisisabuse