Twisted teacher Maya Stepney (played by Louisa Clein) emotionally manipulated lovestruck teenager Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant) not to tell anyone about their secret affair in Emmerdale on Thursday 7 February, as the ITV soap's teacher/pupil abuse storyline continued.


Maya, who is in a relationship with village shopkeeper David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden), has secretly been kissing and grooming David's vulnerable 15-year-old son Jacob for months. Maya has been seen using familiar grooming tactics as she plays with the Hotten Academy pupil's affections.

In last night's episode, she emotionally blackmailed Jacob to keep quiet about their illicit liaisons after she told him how terrified she was he was going to go public with their secret. This led Jacob to reassure Maya their secret was safe and he dropped the bombshell he loves her...

Since last year, childrens' charity Barnado's have been working with Emmerdale's researchers, story team and actors sito help tell the abuse storyline authentically.

Emmerdale stars Louisa Clein, Joe-Warren Plant and Matthew Wolfenden met experts and young men who have been supported by a Barnardo's project called Better Futures Cymru, which helped them understand how their characters would be feeling or behaving.

Emmerdale, Jacob Gallagher, Maya Stepney
Jacob has threatened to expose his teacher Maya. (Picture: ITV)

Barnardo's Chief Executive Javed Khan explains guilt and shame are two of the reasons why a vulnerable and confused grooming victim like Jacob might believe he loves his abuser, Maya:

"When a young person is manipulated, controlled or forced into taking part in a sexual act, that is sexual abuse. Even if the young person thinks it’s a consensual relationship, it is still abuse," he says.

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"Vulnerable young people may think that their abuser is their friend, or even their boyfriend or girlfriend. But in reality they may force the young person to do things they don’t want to do. They can put them into dangerous situations and may even be violent. "Sadly, thousands of children and young people across the UK are being sexually abused every year."

About Barnardo's

In 2017-18, Barnardo’s supported 3,300 children, young people, parents and carers, through the charity's child sexual exploitation direct support services.

Barnardo's works to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year help thousands of families to build a better future.

Visit to find out how you can get involved.


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