YouTube vloggers star in new abuse campaign

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Jamal Edwards from SBTV is one of the vloggers involved in the campaign

A group of YouTube vloggers are starring in the latest phase of the Home Office's teenage relationship abuse campaign This is Abuse.

The videos, which feature Charlie McDonnell, Mandem on the Wall, SBTV's Jamal Edwards and Twist and Pulse, cover issues like consent, sexting and controlling behaviour.

They aim to raise awareness about how to recognise abusive relationships.

This part of the campaign is aimed at reaching teenage boys.

Vlogs by Mandem On The Wall's and Twist and Pulse's talk about how abuse isn't always physical, the issue of consent and if it is ever appropriate to share photographs of a partner without their knowledge.

Mandem on the Wall

Image source, This Is Abuse

"Young people don't always fully understand consent, that's why we're involved in this campaign - we're trying to send out some really important messages through comedy," said Mandem on the Wall.

"The This is Abuse campaign is really helpful because it explores 'taboo' issues in an open and frank way."

Twist and Pulse

Image source, This Is Abuse

"You don't have to physically hit someone to be abusive," said Twist and Pulse.

"Bullying or blackmailing them to send inappropriate photographs, telling them what they can and can't wear and making them do things they don't feel comfortable with, is all abusive behaviour.

"Talking about it [abusive relationships] means that people are more aware and more alert to the signs of an abusive relationship."

The four vloggers involved have 500,000 subscribers combined.

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

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: "Abuse in teenage relationships does happen, but boys often do not recognise the signs.

"With their [the vloggers'] significant online followings they can inform teenage boys about what constitutes consent and abuse.

"Early intervention is crucial in order to prevent abuse before it starts."

'Service cuts'

Charities and experts have welcomed the This Is Abuse campaign, but say it comes as services for teen abusers face cuts.

"The majority of perpetrators of domestic violence do not currently get access to an accredited service," said Neil Blacklock from the charity Respect.

Newsbeat heard in November how many experts think support services for teen abusers are at best "patchy".

Image source, This Is Abuse
Image caption, Charlie McDonnell's vlog highlights the importance of consent in relationships

Operations Coordinator for Rape Crisis Fiona Elvines said: "Girls and boys experience pressure in different ways, with young men often using sex with young women as a way to prove themselves as men to other men.

"This campaign directly addresses this through opening up a conversation between young men about what sexual consent means in practice."

Anyone affected the issues covered in the videos can seek help and advice on the This Is Abuse website, where teen boys can also take part in an anonymous and private webchat with a trained advisor.

The videos can be viewed on the vloggers' YouTube channels from midday on 13 March.

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