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BYU Advertising and Film students are creating a public service announcement to raise awareness about the growing issue of domestic abuse.

Graphic created by Bekah Peterson.

Domestic violence is a nationwide issue, with over 10 million abuse victims annually. Utah is no exception to that problem. In 2016, almost a third of Utah homicides were due to domestic violence.

The project started a little over a year ago when a group of communication students in an academic research class decided to tackle something meaningful with their work. Under the guidance of Mark Callister, a professor in the school of communications, the advertising students chose to create a public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness about the growing issue of domestic abuse.

The group began the project during National Domestic Abuse Awareness month in October 2016. The first step was to gather information on the issue. They visited local shelters and spoke with directors about some of the most pressing issues regarding domestic abuse and how it escalates. They also reviewed accounts of domestic abuse and learned about both the victims and perpetrators.

Over the summer, the ad students collaborated with a few film students to begin filming a video for the PSA. They auditioned actors in Salt Lake City, chose a composer for the music and filmed the PSA, which is currently in the editing stage.

By the end of the year they will send the finished video to shelters across the state of Utah to be distributed on social media and other channels.

While raising awareness is the main objective of the PSA, the group hopes that it will also inform people about how they can help if they ever become aware of a domestic abuse situation. “A lot of people are aware of it but not sure what to do or how to help out,” Callister said.

“My hope is that someone who is either a victim or witness to a domestic abuse situation will remember this PSA and will remember that they can make the difference,” said Timmy Bates, a senior in the advertising program.

Although the class ended in December 2016, many of the students have continued to work on the project simply because they know what they’re doing is making a difference.

Marinda Cummings, another advertising student involved in the research, said, “It feels good to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

For more information on how to help a loved one being affected by domestic abuse, visit http://www.thehotline.org/help/.

Writer: Bekah Peterson

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