Coronation Street actor Christopher Harper – who plays sinister Nathan Curtis – has backed a Barnardo’s campaign offering safety tips for teenagers to help keep them safe from sexual exploitation.
This weeks episodes of the ITV soap will see Nathan pressure supposed girlfriend Bethany into having sex with another man, a storyline that results in the vulnerable 16-year-old being led to the bedroom by the much older Neil.
Speaking today, the Corrie star 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.”
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, added: “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.”
The top tips issued by Barnardo’s 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.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of this week’s drama on Coronation Street below