Broadchurch actress becomes Dorset Rape Crisis charity patron

image source, ITV
image captionThe third Broadchurch series focused on the rape of Trish Winterman, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh

Broadchurch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh has become the patron of a rape crisis charity following her depiction of a rape victim in the ITV drama.

She made the announcement at the Dorset Rape Crisis charity screening of the show's final episode in Bridport, Dorset, on Monday evening.

Hesmondhalgh said she was proud to have "given a voice" to rape victims in the eight-part crime serial.

The charity said it was "excited" she had agreed to take the position.

The storyline of the third and final series of Broadchurch, which is part-filmed in West Bay, centred on the rape of Trish Winterman - played by former Coronation Street actress Hesmondhalgh.

Among the relationships that develop in the show is Trish's work with her rape counsellor Beth Lattimer, portrayed by Jodie Whittaker.

media captionCreator of ITV's Broadchurch Chris Chibnall tells Today why exploring themes of sexual violence is appropriate

Tracy Parsons, from Dorset Rape Crisis, which worked closely with Broadchurch's writer and producer, Chris Chibnall, said the programmes had shown there was support for people struggling with the legacy of rape.

"We are really excited that Julie has agreed to be our patron - it's huge for our trustees, staff and clients that someone who is so well known is coming onboard," she said.

Hesmondhalgh said: "I was very relieved that I had given a voice - in my own small way in this big project - to the people who have been through [rape]."

Of her new role as patron of Dorset Rape Crisis, she said: "I feel very proud to be part of increasing the profile of anybody who is doing this incredible, important, essential work."

She described rape as a "pressing" issue, adding: "We need to start having conversations at home with our families - with our daughters and our sons - about consent and about respect, and about healthy, sexual relationships."

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