By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

April 6, 2012 | 2 min read

The ASA has revealed that it will not investigate an anti-rape ad released by the Home Office, despite complaints that it is distressing and should not be viewed by children.

The advertising standards body has said that the message raised in the ad, which launched last month, outweighed whatever distress it might cause.

It was also said that since there was a post-9pm watershed on the ad, the chances for children to view the ad – which is aimed at teenagers – was minimal.

UPDATED: A Home Office spokesperson told The Drum: "Talking to young people about rape can be difficult but campaigns such as 'This is Abuse' have an important role to play in preventing teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of rape by improving understanding of what is and isn't acceptable sexual behaviour.

"We worked closely with charities who work with young rape victims and young people themselves to develop the advert.”

An ASA spokesperson added: "We have received 95 complaints about the Home Office ‘This is abuse’ TV ad campaign. After careful consideration of the issues raised, the ASA Council do not believe there is a problem with the ad under the Advertising Code.

"The general nature of the complaints, including from some who have been victims of rape, were that the ad was offensive, distressing and unsuitable to be seen by children. We understood the very sensitive nature of the concerns raised, that the ad was hard hitting and viewers in general might find it disturbing. However, we considered the importance of the message being raised was likely to be seen as outweighing any distress caused. Also, the post-9pm scheduling restriction meant that it was kept away from times when children were likely to be watching. We did not, therefore, believe there were grounds to ban the ad."

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