Teen sex attack figures 'shocking'
Nick Clegg has told a group of teenage girls that he found it "shocking" that a third of their peers have reported they have experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend.
Many young people dismiss the idea of "date-rape", believing the offence only occurs on rare occasions, and think that sexual attacks are more likely to occur at the hands of a stranger, according to the Government.
Visiting a rape crisis centre in Ealing, west London, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke to a group of 16, 17 and 18-year-old girls from a local school about the issues after they were shown a new Government-funded TV advert which aims to challenge the myths around sexual attacks.
He told the schoolgirls: "I think, for far too many people, they think rape is something that happens when you meet a stranger in a dark alley who inflicts physical violence on you.
"What we're trying to do with this advert is make sure that people know it's about, maybe, familiar relationships with people you've known for a long time, and maybe there's no violence involved at all. That's why it's so hard-hitting, because we really need to shift the way people think about this."
A cinema and online advertising campaign are also part of the coalition push to address the issue. Funded by the Home Office, it builds on the Government's wider This Is Abuse campaign, which aims to help teenagers develop healthy relationships.
NSPCC research shows that the problem is not just confined to girls, with 16% of boys also reporting that they have experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend. It found that the highest proportion of sexual abuse - 66% - is perpetrated by young people under the age of 18.
The adverts are aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds and feature a teenage girl being coerced into sex by a boy as a party goes on downstairs. The girl says "I don't want to", but the boy persists. A double of the boy then appears, watching the scene from behind an invisible wall.
The viewer is asked "If you could see yourself, would you see rape?"
The adverts will run for a month on youth TV channels, starting on Monday, during programmes such as E4's Skins.