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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Barnardo's defends shock adverts
Barnardo's campaign
Barnardo's has launched new anti-child abuse adverts
Children's charity Barnardo's shocking new series of anti-child abuse advertisements has prompted concern from the advertising industry's own advisory body.

The 1m campaign in national newspapers aims to show the effects of child cruelty in later life.

Abuse in early childhood leads to an enormous impact in later life


The charity has already modified two of five images of abuse victims, in the light of concerns from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

But it remains locked in dispute with the advisory body about whether two other images in the new campaign breach advertising codes.

The campaign - which uses fictional case studies instead of real people - will continue for the next six weeks and will be re-run in the autumn.

Barnardo's advert
The content is meant to shock

One of the adverts which the ASA fears may cause offence shows a prostitute buried beneath rubbish in a car park, with only her knickers, legs and blonde hair showing.

She was neglected as a child, the advert says, and was lured into the sex trade and beaten to death by her pimp.

Andrew Nebel, the charity's director of marketing and communications, told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme that such shock tactics were justified.

'Lost dignity'

"This is an individual that has lost all dignity.

"They have lost their life and there are a worthless object.

Barnardo's shotgun suicide poster
Barnardo's says it wants to save lives

"Barnardo's is about trying to prevent children from being worthless adults whether they are alive or dead."

And he said the campaign had to be hard hitting for maximum impact.

"The younger that we can start working with children the more we can hope to steer them away from these dreadful and negative outcomes."

The other advert which has raised concern is of a young alcoholic drowning in a canal.

Wasted life

The first image in the campaign showed a man's barefoot body dangling from a noose in a rundown garage, with a dirty sheet blocking the light from a window.

The text said: "John Monk. Died: Age 4 years. From the age of four, John was raped by his grandad and a large part of him died. His hope and joy died. His future died.

"Twenty-two years later, he hanged himself and died for real. What a waste.

"At Barnardo's we want to save people like John from a living death."

The charity has already removed graphic images of blood from adverts showing a man who has shot himself and of a teenage drug addict having fallen from a building.

Barnardo's advert
Last year's "heroin baby" generated complaints

Barnardo's provoked complaints a year and a half ago with its picture of a baby injecting heroin.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) said that image was "too shocking" to be shown.

But Barnardo's said it was highly effective in highlighting the plight of abused or disadvantaged children.

The children's charity spends 88p of every pound it raises on charity projects and last year raised more than 30m.

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