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Child sex abuse plot for 'Enders

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Child sex abuse plot for 'Enders

Shona McGarty

Walford-based soap EastEnders is to tackle the sensitive taboo subject of child sex abuse in a forthcoming storyline.

The plot - which has been in development since the end of last year - will see Bianca Jackson's (Patsy Palmer) 15-year-old step-daughter Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) at the fore as she struggles to deal with the actions of her as-yet-unseen and uncast screen step-father, Tony.

Earlier this year, the soap's executive producer Diederick Santer confirmed in an exclusive interview with DS that viewers would soon be meeting Whitney's step-dad. He said: "Well we've heard so much already about Tony and we are building up a picture, aren't we? Bianca obviously thinks the world of him and I think we would all be interested to see him."

A spokesperson for the soap said: "EastEnders is currently planning a future storyline which will tackle sexual abuse within the Jackson family.

"The programme is working very closely with the NSPCC so that this subject is accurately and sensitively portrayed. EastEnders is a contemporary drama which aims to tackle and reflect real-life issues together with raising awareness of the sensitivities that sometimes accompany them."

They added: "EastEnders has successfully drawn attention in the past to a number of sensitive issues including domestic violence, rape and HIV."

John Grounds, NSPCC's director of communications, said of the forthcoming plot: "Programmes like EastEnders are increasingly helping to raise awareness of the hidden nature of sexual abuse.

"The NSPCC's work with the BBC on the forthcoming EastEnders storyline is aimed at ensuring the portrayal of child abuse accurately reflects the damage it can do to the victim, their family and the wider community."

He added: "This is vital in persuading people to take action to stop it and encouraging children to speak out."

Bianca and her gaggle of four children descended on Walford back in April and have since been establishing themselves in the soap. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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