Teens hope to make impact with domestic abuse video

Rebecca Harrison is one of the teenagers at the front in a maroon striped shirt. To her left is Kate Carr and to Kate's left is Alice Patterson.
Rebecca Harrison is one of the teenagers at the front in a maroon striped shirt. To her left is Kate Carr and to Kate's left is Alice Patterson.

A group of teenagers came up with a visually creative way of highlighting an important issue.

As part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, the youngsters from across Northumberland have put together a video looking at domestic abuse in teenage relationships.

Their goal is for it to be shared as much as possible so more teenagers are aware of how domestic abuse can affect them and where they can get help.

The 15-to-17-year-olds, including Ponteland residents Kate Carr, Rebecca Harrison and Alice Patterson, were more keen to do a project about this after finding out from recent survey data that approximately 40 per cent of people in relationships in their teenage years are being subjected to some form of abuse.

They all appear in the video – most of it was filmed at the Space2 facility for young people in Newcastle – and make-up has been used on some of them to show the consequences of violent actions.

Alice said: “Our group wanted to focus on an issue that doesn’t get much publicity so we could raise awareness among teenagers starting their first relationships.

“We thought that a video would be a good way to connect with people and make it clear that the abuse can be physical, emotional and/or sexual.

“We were also keen to make the point that this affects boys too because females abuse males as well.”

Members of the group have appeared on local television and radio to discuss the video and it is being actively promoted on social media – Twitter username @Catch22_NCS5 using the hashtag #HANDSDOWN and Facebook page Teenage Domestic Abuse #HANDSDOWN.

Kate said: “We wanted to make the video simple but effective and the people running the NCS are pleased with the publicity we’ve received.”

The group, along with others on the programme, took part in two residentials. The first week was at the Kingswood outdoor activity centre to strengthen teamwork and leadership skills.

Rebecca said: “In the second week at Ford Castle, there were workshops with organisations about issues such as mental health and money management and we also had some interesting debates.”