Campaign to tackle domestic abuse of young people launched

The next phase of the Welsh Government’s Live Fear Free campaign has been launched, and concentrates on the themes of consent and control in young people’s relationships.

Research shows that 1 in 5 teenage girls have been assaulted by a boyfriend. But the campaign aims to show that abuse is not limited to physical attacks. Emotional abuse such as constant criticism, isolation from friends and family, control of personal appearance and of finances can be just as damaging.

The campaign also reminds young people that consent to one act is not a ‘free pass’ to future acts, that consent cannot be presumed or forced and ultimately, “NO means NO”.

Aimed towards16-24 year olds, the campaign begins with advertising on Facebook and Google. It will be closely followed by a poster campaign appearing in bars and clubs, shopping centres and student unions in 180 sites across Wales.

Running alongside the campaign will be two films produced in partnership with University of South Wales students, around the same messages of consent and control. These will be hosted on social media and on the Live Fear Free website.

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said:

“This phase of the Live Fear Free campaign targets young people, who might not always be considered at risk of gender-based violence, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“Understanding healthy and unhealthy behaviour in relationships, could help young people to get advice and support sooner or prevent destructive behaviour .”

One of the students involved in the making of the films, Angharad Hoskins said:

“While it was a great opportunity to be part of this process with regards to developing the storyline and being involved in the filming, it also highlighted to me some key issues around domestic abuse and how it can impact on individuals – their self-confidence and self-esteem. I hope what we have done will help to raise awareness about the issue and ensure that anyone who is affected knows where to get help.”

Theatre and drama lecturer at University of South Wales, Rhiannon Williams said:

“This project was important as it allowed the students to work through ideas regarding domestic abuse and develop their own relevant storylines which will hopefully resonate with others of the same age.”

Women’s Officer Rosie Inman NUS Wales said:

“The Live Fear Free campaign is an excellent way of raising awareness of the issues around violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“We have researched the experience of women students and know that they are exposed to a range of unwanted behaviours from ‘everyday’ verbal and non-verbal harassment, to serious episodes of stalking, physical and sexual assault.

“This is of huge concern to us and despite some progress in changing the law to protect women from violence and abuse, there remains a deeply-ingrained problem in the way society views and treats women.

“This requires an approach which involves all areas of Welsh life. We welcome this work as a step towards tackling these problems through education.”

For more information, visit www.gov.wales/livefearfree, and for advice and support call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 8010800.