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Hollyoaks stars in anti-abuse ads

Hollyoaks actors and pop stars appear in new television adverts launched today to highlight abusive behaviour in teenage relationships.

Two different advertising campaigns were co-produced with MTV and soap opera Hollyoaks t o support the Home Office campaign This is Abuse.

Charities and campaigners said young women are being subjected to coercive 'sexting' and groping in school corridors, as well as physical abuse and rape.

In the first advert, which will run across all MTV channels and online, pop musicians Example, Jason Derulo and boy-band The Wanted deal with myths about consent and 'call out' abusive relationships

The second advert focuses on the abusive relationship of Hollyoaks couple Maxine Minniver, played by Nikki Sanderson and Patrick Blake, played by Jeremy Sheffield, and deals with non-physical abuse. It will air for the first time during tonight's episode of the drama on Channel 4.

Charities End Violence Against Women, Respect and AVA are supporting the campaign.

End Violence Against Women Coalition director Holly Dustin said: " We need to wake up to the fact that girls and young women are subject to distressingly high levels of abuse from boyfriends and other peers including coercive 'sexting', 'groping' in school corridors, as well as physical abuse and rape.

"So we applaud the Home Office for making a long term investment in the essential task of preventing abuse through its long running 'This Is Abuse' campaign to tackle harmful attitudes and behaviours.

"This should now be built upon with work in schools around consensual and respectful relationships, and ensuring specialist support for young survivors and abusers."

A spokesperson for Respect and AVA said: " The 'This Is Abuse' website provides important support to the many young people whose lives are affected by serious abuse.

"Respect and AVA are pleased to bring our expertise to this service, we know it is a lifeline for many young people and we are committed to ensure the service provides the help they deserve."

A new 'In The Know' section, specifically aimed at boys, has been added to the 'This is Abuse' website, designed to help them understand the campaign's messages.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: " The new 'This is Abuse' campaign adverts highlight to teenagers that abuse isn't just limited to violence, but can include controlling and coercive behaviour.

"Too many young people have experienced some form of emotional violence from a partner. We need to stop this - not only can emotional abuse wreck lives but it can be a precursor to physical violence.

"Today's new advertising campaigns will help teenagers identify abuse and give them the tools to challenge it when they see it. It is one part of a long term commitment from the Home Office to prevent abuse before it starts."

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