05/10/2017 11:26 BST

Coronation Street’s Chris Harper Becomes Barnado’s Ambassador After Child Grooming Storyline

'Bethany’s story is not pure fiction; young people go through this kind of abuse every day.'

‘Coronation Street’ actor Chris Harper will continue working with Barnardo’s following the soap’s child grooming storyline, and has been announced as the charity’s new celebrity ambassador.

On screen, his character Nathan Curtis was just found guilty for his crimes against Bethany Platt, and in the 10 months since the storyline started, both Chris and his co-star Lucy Fallon have worked to raise awareness of the real world cases that mirror their fictional one.

PA Wire/PA Images
Chris Harper 

Explaining his new role, Chris said: “Since joining the cast of ‘Coronation Street’ I’ve had the privilege of helping to shed light on the hidden crimes of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“Working on Corrie’s grooming storyline has helped bring these issues into the public consciousness, something that organisations like Barnardo’s have been working tirelessly to do for decades.

“Sadly, Bethany’s story is not pure fiction; children and young people all over the country go through this kind of abuse and exploitation every day.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce that I’ve joined Barnardo’s as a celebrity ambassador. Even after my character Nathan is locked up I’ll be doing my bit to help Barnardo’s support vulnerable children who have been sexually abused.”

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan added: “Chris’s work on ‘Coronation Street’ has been invaluable in highlighting the hidden crimes of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Bethany bravely took to the stand 

“He has helped to show the nation how master manipulators like his character Nathan Curtis work their way into the lives of children and young people to groom them for sex.

“Chris has proven to be a very important ally in our fight against sexual abuse and exploitation of children and I’m thrilled to welcome him to Barnardo’s as our new celebrity ambassador.”

Last month, Chris spoke out to highlight the importance of one-to-one support for grooming victims, making his statement as Bethany prepared to face her accuser again in court.

“For young victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation, achieving justice can mean having to relive their ordeal,” he said. “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 re-traumatised.

“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.”

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