Unicef Sweden and Edelman roll out disturbing video game to highlight domestic violence

Unicef Sweden has produced a hard-hitting video game and short trailer that depicts domestic violence in the home from the perspective of a child.

'Violence of reality': Unicef's hard-hitting video game highlighting domestic violence
'Violence of reality': Unicef's hard-hitting video game highlighting domestic violence

The charity is working with Edelman Deportivo in Stockholm to promote the "Violence of Reality" campaign, which can be played before users sign a petition aimed at making all forms of violence against children punishable.

The campaign's hook is that while video games are given strict certifications to prevent children from witnessing virtual violence, those same children can often be subjected to far more damaging, real-life violence in the home.

The game itself, which can be played here and is rated 16+ by Pegi (Pan European Game Information), is playable via users' web browsers using WebGL. It puts the player in the shoes of a four-year-old woken by sounds of her parents shouting. Players can interact with in-game objects such as a ball and a family photo, and control their avatar to move nearer the source of the shouting parents, before being faced with a silhouetted vignette of domestic abuse.

Edelman will be promoting the game and trailer via media including digital and social. The video warns viewers that the game should not be played by under 18s. Using scenes from the game, it depicts from a child's view a house at night in stark, monochrome graphics. "It's so empty in there, it would pop like a balloon," a man's aggressive voice is heard saying. A loud collision sounds. "You're screaming like a pig," the man shouts. His shadow is then seen against a wall, gesticulating violently at his wife.

"Children are protected from violence in games, but not from all violence in reality," on-screen copy reads. A child wearing a numb, victimised expression is seen before the film fades to black and copy provides a link to the game and the Unicef petition.

According to recent research, more than one in ten children in Sweden has been abused or exposed to other types of domestic violence in the past year, with the number of police reports in Sweden having risen by 21% since 2008.

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