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Coronation Street storyline encourages rape victim to report attack - August-09-12
Source: The Telegraph (Martin Evans)
The 17-year-old boy, who until recently had not felt able to tell anyone of his ordeal, finally confided in his mother after watching storyline on the soap about a rape victim.
Daniel Bird, 24, from Sale Moor, was convicted of four counts of rape and sentenced to four years in prison following a trial at Manchester Crown Court.
The attacks happened around 2004, when the victim was eight years old and Bird was around 15.
Bird had babysat for the victim and his sibling several times at their house in south Manchester over a two-month period and attacked the youngster on four separate occasions.
Following the attacks he told his victim he was not allowed to tell anyone about what had happened.
For more than a decade he kept details of his ordeal secret, but finally decided to seek help after watching a storyline in Coronation Street featuring the character Carla who was raped by her jilted ex-lover.
Detective Constable Grace Hulse from Greater Manchester Police's Public Protection Investigation Unit said: "It has taken an incredible amount of courage for the victim in this case to come forward and tell his family and the police about what happened to him. Today, thanks to his bravery, his attacker has been put behind bars for his despicable actions.
"It will take a long time for the victim's emotional scars to heal, but despite everything he has had to endure, this boy has selflessly offered to take part in media interviews to tell people about his ordeal, in the hope it will encourage others in similar positions to find the courage to speak out."
She added: "We have specially-trained officers who give a tremendous amount of time and support to anyone who has been a victim of rape and I would encourage anyone who has been subjected to such an attack to contact us."
A spokesperson for Coronation Street said: "Having worked closely with the St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester on this storyline, we are pleased that the portrayal and subsequent aftermath of Carla's rape on Coronation Street has helped this victim to seek the appropriate help and guidance needed.
"We never seek to highlight an issue - just tell the best story for every character. When we do touch on issues we obviously strive to make sure our research is flawless and the depiction an accurate and truthful one."
Dr Catherine White, Clinical Director of the St Mary's Centre said: "St Mary's provided advice to script writers and producers on how to portray the actual rape as well as advising on what the character might expect in terms of services at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre. St Mary's was also on the set during filming providing advice so that the portrayal of SARC services was as accurate as possible.
"It is encouraging that our work with Coronation Street has resulted in people coming forward and reporting their experience and ensuring they get the ongoing support they need."
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