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Soap Plays Its Part in Raising Awareness of Child Sex Exploitation

By Head of Abuse Team

Coronation Street’s grooming storyline has created a talking point that could help many survivors of abuse across the UK.

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An actor on the show has even stressed how the plotline can help victims, who are often so manipulated they don’t realise they’re being abused, to understand what’s going on. 

The ongoing plot has seen  16-year-old Bethany being groomed by her boyfriend, Nathan. Viewers have seen the vulnerable teenager getting engaged to the older man and while Bethany’s family see a loving relationship, soap fans  have witnessed Nathan grooming her with the intention of exploiting the vulnerable teen  in a sex trafficking ring.

The events culminated with a disturbing suggested gang rape scene earlier this month, which caused many viewers to take to social media in shock. There were even 13 complaints to TV watchdog Ofcom.

Crimes such as sexual abuse and child exploitation will only be put to an end by speaking of them and vigilance comes in various forms.

This is sadly not just the storyline of a soap opera but an all-too real scenario that affects many children on a daily basis.

The incidents are, of course, incredibly difficult to watch, but broadcasting storylines such as these may help real-life victims learn about the help that can be extended to them and raise awareness around how vulnerable girls may be targeted.

Crimes such as sexual abuse and child exploitation will only be put to an end by speaking of them and vigilance comes in various forms.

By bringing such events to public attention, ‘Coronation Street’ has done a service for those suffering in silence.

By raising awareness of abuse, survivors can see that they are not alone and that their abusers can be brought to justice.

Actor, Chris Harper, must be commended for the views he has shared on his role as Nathan.

He told Closer magazine: "We wanted to show it’s worth victims telling people. It was also important to show that victims can be so manipulated, they don’t even realise they’re being abused.”

It’s not the first time these horrific crimes have been given airtime either. We recently saw the  harrowing reality of child grooming and abuse dramatised on screen in the BBC’s powerful drama, 'Three Girls’.

‘Three Girls’ depicts the true stories of survivors of abuse in Rochdale, shining a spotlight on a previously hidden scandal so that future victims may be protected.

My client, Girl A, portrayed as ‘Holly’ in the programme, brought legal action against social services and received a six-figure settlement. 

 

For anyone who has survived experiences like those depicted in ‘Coronation Street’ or ‘Three Girls’, help is always available.

Information on how to spot and report signs of sexual abuse and exploitation can be found on http://www.itsnotokay.co.uk/

 

The specialist abuse lawyers at Slater and Gordon offer a free and completely confidential consultation to anyone affected by sexual abuse. Call us anytime 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.

Richard Scorer is a principal lawyer and head of the abuse team at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.

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