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Corrie’s Christopher Harper backs Barnardo’s safety tips for teens watching grooming storyline

Release Date: 24 Apr 2017

As Coronation Street’s disturbing grooming storyline peaks this week, Barnardo’s is issuing advice to teenagers to help keep them safe from sexual exploitation.

The storyline – which has been described as uncomfortable viewing by many - sees teenager Bethany groomed and sexually exploited by much older Nathan, who pressures her into having sex with another man this week.

One scene this Friday will see the terrified 16-year-old schoolgirl being led to the bedroom by older man Neil as her manipulative ‘boyfriend’ Nathan encourages her with a reassuring smile.

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

Nathan is a master manipulator. Bethany thinks he loves her but he is isolating her from her friends and family so he can control her and exploit her sexually.

Groomers like Nathan can target anyone but there are things you can do to help keep you and your mates safe.

Barnardo’s has lots of top tips, including staying with friends your own age, always making sure someone you trust knows where you are and having charge and credit on your phone.

It’s important to ask yourself if you’re in a safe situation and to be careful around drugs and alcohol, as they could make you an easier target for someone who wants to hurt you.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:

In Coronation Street Bethany is being controlled and manipulated by a much older man who is sexually exploiting her. It’s a crime and it’s wrong.

If you’re out with friends, or seeing someone new please read Barnardo’s top tips for keeping safe.

Sexual abuse and exploitation is never your fault, so please tell someone if you are scared or worried about yourself or a friend, so you can get help.

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

1.Stick with mates a similar age to you – a good mate won’t ask you to do stuff you’re uncomfortable with.

2.If you feel you can’t say no, ask yourself ‘am I in a safe situation?’

3.If someone offers you something for free, ask yourself what will they want in return?

4.Listen to your body – heart beating, stomach turning are signs you feel unsafe.

5.Be careful what personal details (including photos) you give out online and in real life.

6.Make sure you know where you are going and how to get home. Have credit and charge on your phone.

7.Make sure someone you trust always knows where you are.

8.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:

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.

Police:

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.

Childline:

Young people can call Childline at any time of the day on 08001111 or chat to them at www.childline.org.uk

CEOP:

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


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