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Barnardo’s issues advice for parents watching Corrie grooming storyline

Release Date: 15 Mar 2017

Barnardo’s has issued advice to parents about the warning signs of sexual exploitation after shocking scenes in tonight’s (Wednesday, March 15) Coronation Street show schoolgirl Bethany Platt being groomed by an older man.

The UK’s leading children’s charity has praised the soap for shining a light on this serious but little discussed issue. The charity has released guidance so people know what to look out for if they’re concerned children may be being targeted by sex abusers.

In the Granada drama, 16 year old Bethany played by Lucy Fallon is groomed with attention, alcohol and gifts by Nathan Curtis, a man in his 30s, played by Chris Harper who is aided by his female accomplice Mel.

The teenager regards him as her boyfriend and Mel as her friend but they have sinister plans for her. In one chilling scene, Nathan calls a friend to say he was going to get a return on his “investment”.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:

This storyline makes for difficult watching but it’s important as many people as possible are aware of the signs of grooming, so we can prevent this abuse happening.

Like Bethany’s character, the young victims of this crime mistakenly think these child sex abusers care for them because they’re often showered with presents and attention. But alcohol and mobile phones can be used to control and manipulate them into doing things they don’t want to do.

Our Be Safe Guide gives parents vital advice about what signs to look out for if they’re worried a child may be being groomed and exploited. Our specialist services support thousands of children who are at risk of, or have been sexually exploited by men and women, to rebuild their lives in what is often a slow and painful process.  We must all work together to stop this terrible crime.

Signs of sexual exploitation include:

•Having older boyfriends or girlfriends.

•Receiving unexplained gifts or new possessions.

•Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late, and regularly missing school.

•Mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing.

•Drug and alcohol misuse.

•Spending a lot of time in their bedroom and becoming unusually secretive, particularly around the use of handheld devices like mobiles.

•Suffering from sexually transmitted infections.

Steps parents can take:

•Stay alert to behavioural changes or physical signs of abuse such as bruising.

•Monitor late nights out and any unexplained belongings.

•Be wary of your child’s older friends or relationships where you see a power imbalance.

For more advice you can download a copy of Barnardo’s Be Safe Guide.

Barnardo’s also works hard to raise awareness about the risks of child sexual exploitation through its Real Love Rocks resource used by primary and secondary school teachers to promote discussion about healthy relationships, both in the real world and online.


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