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Grooming victims like Corrie’s Bethany often face threats and intimidation on their journeys to justice

Release Date: 02 Oct 2017

Victims of grooming and child sexual exploitation like Bethany Platt in Coronation Street often face threats and intimidation on their journeys to justice, Barnardo’s has found.

In scenes playing out on the popular ITV soap opera this week, viewers will see how Bethany’s abuser Nathan Curtis – who has been remanded in prison pending a trial - is trying to derail proceedings by intimidating Bethany into pulling out of giving evidence against him.

And in tonight’s (Monday’s) episodes, viewers will see how, from his prison cell, Nathan is orchestrating violence and threats against Bethany in a bid to make sure she doesn’t get to court.

Research for Barnardo’s Journey to Justice report found that young victims of child sexual abuse or exploitation often reported feeling unsafe and intimidated during the criminal justice process.

Just like in Coronation Street, young victims of child sexual exploitation and abuse who took part in Barnardo’s research said they had been intimidated or threatened by the perpetrator or their friends and family during a police investigation, or in the run up to court hearings.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said:

Perpetrators of child sexual exploitation like Nathan Curtis use threats and intimidation to keep their victims silent.

Just like Bethany in Coronation Street, victims show a great deal of bravery when they speak up about their abuse and disclose it to police.

It takes even more courage, tenacity and emotional resilience to see that through the whole criminal justice process.

That’s why it’s so vital for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation to be offered one-to-one support from an independent practitioner who will support them through the whole process, from disclosure and police investigation, right through any court case and beyond.

Barnardo’s Journey to Justice report highlights a lack of support in the criminal justice process for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation and the charity is now calling for all victims to be offered an independent one-to-one practitioner to support them throughout the whole case.

Barnardo’s is the leading provider of child sexual exploitation services and supports victims all the way through the criminal justice process – right up until prosecution and beyond.

Chris Harper, who plays Nathan in in the long running ITV soap, said:

For young victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation, achieving justice can mean having to relive their ordeal.

Just like Bethany, real life victims face going over their abuse time and time again, which can be extremely distressing and lead to them becoming retraumatised.

We’ve seen how difficult it has been for Bethany to summon up the courage to report Nathan to the police and now she faces cross-examination in court – it’s a terrifying prospect for her.

It’s vital that victims and survivors get one-to-one support right the way through their case to help them understand the daunting process and cope with the strain that fighting to achieve justice can put on them.

During research with victims of child sexual exploitation, Barnardo’s found that aggressive cross-examination and police interviews can make young people feel like they are not believed or that they are to blame for their abuse.

Victims also say that having to tell their stories over and over again to police and in court can leave them feeling distressed and that no one believes them.

They also find the criminal justice process complicated and confusing, experience a lack of control and feel excluded from decision-making about their cases.

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