'Growing Pains' ad reveals reality of child sexual exploitation

Children’s charity Children’s Society has teamed up with VCCPme to draw attention to child sexual exploitation with a film focusing on the reality of sexual abuse in teenagers.

Directed by ‘Luther’ director Sam Miller, the emotive two-minute long piece reveals that child sexual exploitation can happen in the setting of an average family home.

Titled ‘Growing Pains’, the film tracks a chart of significant childhood milestones, starting from innocent moments such as being tall enough to ride the rollercoaster to darker events. A teenage girl's voice narrates as the camera pans up the growth chart: “I met their friends. They drink a lot”; “I don’t like where they touch me”; “Abused by all of them tonight. I blacked out.

The campaign follows Children’s Society’s report ‘Old Enough to Know Better’, which revealed huge numbers of sex crimes against older teenagers in England and Wales in the last year went unreported and unpunished because many victims were gripped by the fear of not being believed and suspicion of the justice system.

“VCCPme has made a powerful video helping us bring this urgent issue to the screen. This video is vital to our being able to draw attention to the what child sexual exploitation really is and raise the crucial funds we need to make sure we can help these children and keep more safe from being sexually exploited in the first place,” said Matthew Reed, chief executive of Children’s Society.

The advert forms part of the charity’s Seriously Awkward campaign which calls on the government to make sure that police have the means they need to protect 16 and 17-year-olds from sexual exploitation, and that consent to take drugs and drink alcohol is never confused with consent to engage in sexual acts.

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