Complaints about an NSPCC advertisement
depicting a cartoon boy bouncing back from his father’s attacks
have not been upheld by the Independent Television Commission.
ITC received 127 complaints about the advertisement that showed the
father putting a cigarette out on the boy’s head and throwing him
down the stairs. The closing scene showed a real boy and the
caption “real children don’t bounce back.”
complainants said they found the advertisement upsetting and 12
viewers said it reminded them of their own experience of child
abuse. Five viewers felt the advertisement suggested that only men
abused children. Several acknowledged that raising awareness was
important but felt this had gone too far.
NSPCC said it had not meant to cause distress and apologised to
anyone who had been upset by the advertisement. It said that
research showed that the hard-hitting imagery was an effective
means of conveying the seriousness of the issue and moving people
to take action if they were concerned about a child.
also said that there was no intention to suggest only men or
fathers abused children and recognised that male and female abusers
are equally guilty.
the ITC sympathised with viewers who had found the advert
upsetting, it accepted the NSPCC’s arguments in support of the
campaign and the hard-hitting nature of the cartoon.
also acknowledged that the charity had taken care during the
development stage to attempt to ensure that the campaign worked
effectively while minimising distress to viewers.