Child sexual abuse within the family will be a major storyline on Hollyoaks, starting next week.
The Channel 4 soap will be the first television drama to explore the issue of child sexual abuse in such depth in a prime time, pre-watershed slot.
As part of a long-running storyline, Porsche McQueen will reveal to her cousin, Phoebe, that she was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend when she was 15.
Her mother, Reenie McQueen, will be persuaded that the claims are false by her boyfriend, Pete, after Porsche discloses her abuse to her mother.
The NSPCC was consulted on the storyline and will offer online support during key episodes.
Jon Brown, lead for tackling sexual abuse for the charity, said well researched storylines in soaps can help raise awareness, and those affected reach out for support.
“Sexual abuse is a crime that rips apart families and I am very pleased with the way that Hollyoaks has thoughtfully approached an enormously emotive and challenging subject.”
Brown added that sexual abuse within families is “disturbingly the most common form and the impact on victims is devastating, sometimes damaging them long into adulthood if they don’t get the right support”.
Executive producer of Hollyoaks, Bryan Kirkwood, said the story will “endeavour to show that we do have the power to stop abuse and, most importantly, that it is possible to recover and to go on and have a happy and successful life”.
Hollyoaks airs on Channel 4 at 6.30pm, Monday – Friday.