In the news

University films bring domestic violence closer to home

08 Jun 2015

Undergraduates at a North East university have formed an innovative and unique collaboration with Northumbria Police to help promote awareness of domestic violence in the region.

First year media students and third year drama students at the University of Sunderland created four short films that cover financial, emotional, physical and sexual forms of domestic abuse. The films will be used to train and educate people about the signs and effects of these forms of abuse, and follow on from last year’s successful project that focused on the blurred lines of sexual consent.

A spokesperson for Rape Examination Advice Counselling Help (REACH), who, along with the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), also collaborated on the project, said: “Nowhere else in the country is a University working in such close partnership to educate their student population about this important government strategy. 

“This innovative work brings a new element to undergraduate’s studies, giving them the opportunity to work to a real brief with some challenging topics.  Equally as important is that their finished work is to be used in the induction of students over the coming years as well as in schools around the region.” 

Adelle Hulsmeier, Lecturer in Drama and Performing Arts at the University of Sunderland, said: “Our undergraduates have once again proven they can tackle sensitive material with maturity and dedication.

“The issues have been addressed in a creative and educational fashion and clearly fit the brief of an awareness video. The students have created four engaging pieces of work and I am proud of their achievements, and commend them for their hard work throughout the process.”

All four short films will be used to promote awareness of domestic violence, with one chosen as the winner during an awards ceremony at the University. The ceremony was attended by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC, and new Chief Constable Steve Ashman, who presented accolades to all of the production teams. Vera Baird said:

“I'm delighted to once again give my support to University of Sunderland students by attending this event and presenting the awards to the well deserved winners.

"The films will go a long way to educate and raise awareness of all forms of domestic abuse, not just the physical aspects but also those controlling features such as financial or emotional abuse, which are sometimes difficult to recognise, even by those who are suffering from it.

"Even though there can only be one winner, I commend all the students for their hard work and dedication in producing their films. Through this work they have been able to learn a great deal about domestic abuse which I hope will stay with them, and may even help them, in the future."

Links to student videos:

Financial domestic violence

Emotional domestic violence

Sexual domestic violence

Physical domestic violence

For more information please refer to the University of Sunderland Press Office: Elliot McGrath 0191 515 3275 / Jane Peverley 0191 515 3276