Government’s new ‘Teen’ Campaign’
Today the government launches their campaign to prevent teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of sexual violence and abuse. It will encourage teenagers to re-think their views of rape, sexual assault, violence and abuse and direct them to places for help and advice. This campaign builds on the Government’s Teenage Relationship Abuse (TRA) campaign to specifically focus on the rape and sexual violence that young people experience. Further information on the TRA campaign can be found at (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/violence-against-women-girls/teenage-relationship-abuse/)
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "This hard-hitting campaign shows that rape is not just about violent attacks by strangers. We want to bring this issue out into the open and get young people talking about the importance of consent. The campaign will give teenagers the facts and support the need to recognise abuse and form healthy relationships."
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: "Teenagers are inundated with information about relationships, from their friends, the internet and TV. This campaign aims to dispel the myths that can lead to the acceptance of rape in relationships. Bringing the issue out in the open will help teenagers feel confident about challenging abuse when they see it and ultimately protect potential victims."
Rape Crisis is supporting the Home Office campaign, but echoes the concerns raised by the End Violence Against Women Coalition. Holly Dustin EVAW Director stated
‘Why aren’t we talking to schools directly about children’s safety? Young people are bombarded with messages that blur the lines of what sexual consent means, so we fully support this Home Office campaign and welcome the fact that the Home Office has worked closely with experts in the women’s sector in developing it. However, we are astonished that the Department for Education, which has responsibility for children’s safety and well-being, has said it will not promote the campaign schools directly, because it wants to reduce the ‘burdens’ on them, but will use Twitter and Facebook instead.
It is critical, therefore, that we invest in long term campaigns like this to change attitudes and behaviours, similar to drink driving campaigns, and that we ensure funding for women’s services who provide support.
We also believe that all schools should have a statutory obligation to deal with this issue through Sex and Relationships Education which should include sexual consent, healthy and respectful relationships, sexualisation and gender equality. All parts of government need to pull together on this critical issue”.