Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Hollyoaks actors in anti-abuse ads

Jeremy Sheffield and Nikki Sanderson will appear in a second TV advert highlighting sexual violence

Hollyoaks actors are to appear in a second television advert launched today to highlight sexual violence in teenage relationships.

The advert aims to highlight to teenagers what constitutes abuse and consent in a relationship and supports the Home Office campaign This is Abuse.

Research shows that experience of rape and sexual assault among teenagers is widespread, both between partners and peer groups.

The advert will be shown after the watershed and features the Hollyoaks couple played by Nikki Sanderson and Jeremy Sheffield.

It shows character Patrick making repeated and unwanted attempts to kiss his girlfriend Maxine, who resists.

He remains persistent and even though she does not give her consent, he goes on to rape her. The advert then says "sex with someone who doesn't want to is rape".

The advertising campaign began in December with an advert which featured pop stars Example, Jason Derulo and boy-band The Wanted dealing with myths about consent.

Another advert also focused on the relationship of the Hollyoaks couple and non-physical abuse.

The new advert will air for the first time on Channel Four.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said: "Many young people do not understand that rape can and does happen in relationships.

"We know that 33% of girls and 16% of boys have experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend - this is why early intervention is crucial in order to prevent abuse before it starts.

"Our new This is Abuse television advert encourages teenagers to rethink their views about rape, consent, violence and abuse, and gives them the tools they need to identify and challenge this behaviour when they see it."

Peter Wanless, chief executive officer of NSPCC, said: "Too many young people assume violence or emotional abuse is a normal part of relationships. It's vital that we get the message across that it isn't right, it isn't their fault, and there are people ready to help them.

"NSPCC research with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds found that more than half of girls questioned said they had been in a sexually violent relationship before they were 18. And a quarter of boys said they had dated physically aggressive partners.

"Society must accept the ugly truth that what we call domestic abuse can start very early in life. It's not when people become adults, it's what they see and learn from childhood; often from witnessing violence in their own family or among their peers.

"I hope that the Government's This is Abuse campaign encourages any young person who needs help, or knows someone who is suffering abuse, to take action to make it stop."

Fiona Elvines, operations co-ordinator for Rape Crisis, said: "From our work within Rape Crisis, both in supporting survivors of rape and childhood sexual abuse and in running sexual violence prevention workshops with adults and young people, we know what a difference a campaign like this can make.

"So often the focus is on giving consent, how to say yes or no, when in law the onus is actually on getting consent, an enthusiastic and embodied 'yes'.

"This campaign has been carefully crafted in consultation with the specialist Violence Against Women and Girls sector to ensure the messaging is right and we wholly support the efforts of the Home Office in pro-actively targeting some of the rape-supportive attitudes of young people."

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