We've teamed-up with Hollyoaks to highlight the most common form of child sexual abuse with the aim of assisting young victims to find help and support
Around 1 in 20 children in the UK have been abused - 90 per cent by someone that they know - but only 1 in 3 ever tell anyone (NSPCC). We hope the storyline will help combat this by directing young people to find help and support, and aid them in recognising when a friend might be vulnerable to abuse.
The long-running Hollyoaks plotline will centre around mum, Reenie McQueen (played by Zoe Lucker), her 3 daughters - Porsche, Celine and Cleo - and Reenie’s boyfriend, Pete.
Soaps have shone a light on the issue of sexual abuse before. But this is the first time it's been explored in a prime time, pre-watershed drama in such depth. The episodes will air on C4 at 6.30pm and E4 first look at 7pm.
Viewers will next week see Porsche (Twinnie-Lee Moore) reveal to her cousin, Phoebe that her mum’s boyfriend, Pete sexually assaulted her when she was 15. But it will emerge that despite finding the courage to tell her mum, Pete managed to persuade Reenie that the claims were false and Porsche had propositioned him.
The event, which led to Porsche and her sisters leaving the family home, will be aired again in heated prison visiting scenes between Porsche and Reenie next week.
A Hollyoaks spokesperson said:
"The McQueen sisters – Porsche, Celine and Cleo - came to Hollyoaks to escape from an unhappy home life and the memory of Reenie's boyfriend, Pete.
"The sisters had never confided in each other about Pete's inappropriate behaviour, which they had all experienced to varying degrees, so the extent of the danger he posed within the family was never revealed.
"When Pete comes back into their lives troubled Reenie desperately wants him to stay and the girls want their mum to be in a happier place - but letting him into their home brings with it devastating consequences."
Online support for those affected by child sexual abuse available during episodes
We worked with Hollyoaks from the inception of the storyline and, along with the programme, will be offering online support during the key episodes. A rise in calls from people affected by the issues raised on screen is expected and we want to be there to help.
Jon Brown, NSPCC lead for tackling sexual abuse, said:
"Well researched storylines in soaps can help raise awareness of difficult and important issues, reaching millions of people and helping those affected reach out for support.
"Sexual abuse is a crime that rips apart families and I am very pleased with the way that Hollyoaks has thoughtfully approached an enormously emotive and challenging subject. Sexual abuse of children within families is disturbingly the most common form and the impact on victims is devastating, sometimes damaging them long into adulthood if they don't get the right support.
"Children can stay silent for fear of what speaking out will do to the relationships they have with other members of the family. Abusers may cynically use this fear to keep children silent, leaving them suffering a daily nightmare. Its important children know that help is out there and they can move forward positively."