Children's charity dismayed over decision to ban ad
Published 24/09/2011 | 05:00
A YOUNG boy stares at the camera and tells viewers that he can't wait until he grows up.
But as he proclaims his right to be happy and to feel loved, he is subjected to a brutal and sustained physical assault by a man who slaps him repeatedly across the face and forcefully flings him to the floor.
The graphic, 40-second 'I Can't Wait Until I Grow Up' video was launched last May by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) as part of its campaign to highlight the continuing problem of physical abuse of children and has already been viewed online more than 700,000 times.
But the leading children's charity has now been forced to stop showing it after the country's advertising standards watchdog said it breached gender equality guidelines in that it portrayed a man as the abuser.
The ISPCC said it was "taken aback" by the decision from the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASAI) complaints committee and was now considering lodging an appeal.
Following 13 complaints about the video, the ASAI recommended that it should no longer appear in its current format as it breached sections 2.16 and 2.17 of the code concerning gender equality.
"We should be more concerned about children experiencing abuse like that depicted in the video and creating awareness around this than whether or not the abuser is a man or a woman," said ISPCC chief executive Ashley Balbirnie.
Defending its decision, ASAI chief executive Frank Goodman denied that it was political correctness gone mad.
"Whether it's Concern, Barnardos or the ISPCC, we go to great lengths not to damage a charity or their ability to collect money," he said.
The authority's complaints committee accepted that while the level of violence portrayed was disturbing, the video's primary message was the existence of child abuse.
However, it found that, in the absence of reliable statistics, the portrayal of only a male character as the apparent abuser was in breach of the provision of the code.