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Corrie star praises Barnardo’s work helping child victims of sexual exploitation get justice

Release Date: 21 Jun 2017

As Coronation Street’s disturbing sexual exploitation storyline peaks this week, Barnardo’s is highlighting the importance of supporting child victims to get justice.

The ITV plot which has been described as uncomfortable viewing by many, has unfolded over several months with teenager Bethany groomed and sexually exploited by much older Nathan.

Now he has been arrested and charged the soap will follow Bethany as she goes through the difficult journey of agreeing to testify against the man she thought loved her.

Christopher Harper, who plays Nathan in Coronation Street, said:

Nathan has finally lost his grip on Bethany but it will still be a harrowing time for her as she struggles to come to terms with what has happened to her.

She now faces a battle to get justice and will need a lot of support as she rebuilds her life.

Barnardo’s specialist services carry out this essential work with real life victims of child sexual exploitation, supporting them to move on and seek justice through the courts against their perpetrators.

They also strive to ensure schools, families and the community are aware and vigilant to possible signs of grooming and sexual exploitation, so children get the protection they deserve.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:

There has been a marked increase in the number of referrals coming through our child sexual exploitation services, and some local authorities report they have had a 30% increase in the last year. This is a very worrying trend and clearly a growing problem in our society today.

A vital part of our work is helping these vulnerable young people through the judicial system.

It can be a terribly harrowing time for many, which is why we believe all child victims of this crime should have the right support to get justice.

Notes to editors

Recent evidence from 69 local authorities in England shows there were more than 9,000 referrals in the last two years, and a 30% increase in the last year.

This figure about local authorities in England comes from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Top tips from Barnardo’s Real Love Rocks educational programme to help young people stay safe are:

  • Stick with mates a similar age to you – a good mate won’t ask you to do stuff you’re uncomfortable with.
  • If you feel you can’t say no, ask yourself ‘am I in a safe situation?’
  • If someone offers you something for free, ask yourself what will they want in return?
  • Listen to your body – heart beating, stomach turning are signs you feel unsafe.
  • Be careful what personal details (including photos) you give out online and in real life.
  • Make sure you know where you are going and how to get home. Have credit and charge on your phone.
  • Make sure someone you trust always knows where you are.
  • Drinking and drugs can make you unaware of unsafe situations and you can become a target for people who may hurt you.

Barnardo’s has previously praised Coronation Street’s writers for tackling the issue of child sexual exploitation and issued advice for parents worried about their children in its Be Safe Guide

Help and advice for people worried about child sexual exploitation is available from:


Barnardo’s has been operating services for young people affected by sexual exploitation since 1994 and now delivers services in more than 40 locations across the UK.

Real Love Rocks:

Barnardo’s also runs the Real Love Rocks website, an online space to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation and what a healthy and safe relationship is.


Child sexual exploitation is against the law and the police want to help. Dial 999 if someone is in immediate danger or call 101 to report something.


Young people can call Childline at any time of the day on 08001111 or chat to them at


CEOP gives information about staying safe on the internet and how to report someone who has made you feel uncomfortable online.


Last year 272,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 996 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you.

Visit to find out how you can get involved. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605

Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews

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