Broadchurch star Julie Hesmondhalgh to be first patron of Dorset Rape Crisis

The actress played Trish Winterman, whose attack and rape was at the heart of series three

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Broadchurch star Julie Hesmondhalgh has praised the “incredible, important, essential” work of Dorset Rape Crisis as she becomes the charity’s first patron.

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The actress played Trish Winterman, who was the victim of assault and rape in series three of the Dorset-based crime drama.

ITV’s critically acclaimed series came to an end on Monday night as David Tennant and Olivia Colman’s DI Hardy and DS Miller finally solved the case and caught their criminal.

Speaking on BBC Radio Solent, Hesmondhalgh said she was “relieved” that women who had experienced rape felt that she had done the part justice and given them a voice.

“Now and again in your life you get to play these roles where, whether you like it or not, you’re representing a group of people who have been through something and you do have a responsibility to that,” she said.

Dorset Rape Crisis approached Broadchurch to see whether any of the cast would be interested in becoming their first patron, and Hesmondhalgh jumped at the chance.

“I said ‘absolutely’ immediately,” she explained. “With the impact of this show and the reach of it, my face has been the face of the attack that’s at the centre of Broadchurch three, it would be ridiculous for me not to do it.

“I’ve learnt so much from playing this part, I’ve learnt so much about the politics of rape and sexual assault, and I feel very proud to be part of increasing the profile of anybody who’s doing this incredible, important, essential work.”

This is the last we will see of Hesmondhalgh on Broadchurch as Chris Chibnall has confirmed the show will not be coming back.

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But the actress took the chance to call for parents to have conversations about consent and sexual violence with their daughters and – crucially – with their sons too.