Campaign film highlights teenage relationship abuse

A social media campaign by young people has launched a locally produced film that aims to help young people understand and identify the difference between healthy and abusive relationships.

“Your new phone” has been published on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube by Got Your Back; a Hull-based initiative that works with young people to produce media around the issues most important to them.

The short film tells the story of a girl, played by local actress Olivia Beaumont, whose new phone is a metaphor for a relationship with her boyfriend. At first the phone is caring and makes her happy, though the device begins behaving differently and displays many of the signs of coercive control including making fun of her, isolating her, controlling her decisions and making threats against her and people she cares about.

The film culminates by challenging the viewer to consider that ‘if they would not expect this from a phone, how would they feel if it were a person?’

Filmmakers Got Your Back made the film as part of Know the Line – a Hull-based campaign to raise awareness of relationship abuse, especially what happens in teenage relationships. The campaign’s website explains that relationship abuse normally starts small, with an insult or an ‘accident’ and gets worse over time. When someone is abusive, it is part of gaining or maintaining control over their partner.

The film was created by a Hull-based social marketing company in collaboration with an Editorial Board of young people who developed the script.

John Gilbert, director of eskimosoup said: “We wanted to demonstrate the different aspects of relationship abuse in a way that showed the psychological aspects of coercive control as well as things such as threats and physical abuse.”

“Young people told us that the idea of a smartphone controlling things – such as how you use social media, your money, who you can speak with, and the choices you make – shows how abusers might behave, in a way that was more memorable than traditional films.”

Got Your Back offers advice on the signs of relationship abuse and where you can get help at their website: