Coronation Street are working with the NSPCC over a child abuse storyline involving troubled teen Asha Alahan.
Asha, played by Tanisha Gorey, has struggled with her body image in the past and resorted to dangerous skin lightening cream after a trip to India.
For her latest difficult storyline, the ITV soap has been working closely with children’s charity NSPCC.
The new awareness-raising plot will see 14-year-old Asha’s life turned upside down after her teen crush Corey Brent betrays her trust during a private conversation.
Corey will screenshot a sexual video of her without her permission while they are video chatting, which is then shared online.
The NSPCC says Asha’s experience is sadly typical of the experiences of hundreds of teenagers across the UK, many of whom have sought help and support from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and its confidential helpline service Childline.
The children’s charity has worked closely with the soap for years, with writers often approaching them to read draft scripts and storylines relevant to child protection or issues brought to Childline by young people across the country.
The NSPCC were recently contacted for the Bethany Platt grooming storyline, and for the past six months, the soap has consulted with senior policy officer Alana Ryan about Asha’s story – which is set to run from Wednesday April 15th – to ensure it is portrayed responsibly.
“We know that a third of all child sexual abuse is perpetrated by peers and this includes non-contact offences, such as the taking and sharing of sexual images without consent,” Alana revealed.
She added to Manchester Evening News: “When working with the team at Coronation Street, we really wanted to ensure young viewers understood that taking and sharing photos without permission is never acceptable.
“We also hoped to use the script to highlight how we all have a shared responsibility to support someone who has been the victim of non-consensual sexual image sharing.”