Emmerdale announces new issue-based storyline for Lydia Dingle

This story discusses topics including rape and sexual assault.

Emmerdale spoilers follow.

Emmerdale will explore the impact of sexual assault in a new storyline with Lydia Dingle.

Producer Laura Shaw has worked closely with Rape Crisis England and Wales on a gripping story that will involve Lydia being raped by her childhood friend Craig.

The two have a long romantic history and Lydia once went through the tragedy of losing their child at birth. While they've recently met again, Craig's true nature will be revealed only after he gets close to Lydia.

karen blick as lydia in emmerdale

Related: 10 huge Emmerdale spoilers for next week

In a September episode, Craig will force himself on Lydia. She'll be left with the dilemma so many face in real life: whether to report him to the police.

As Lydia grapples with this life-changing decision, her friends and family will become increasingly alarmed as she withdraws from her loved ones.

Actress Karen Blick has said of this issue-based plot: "Lydia's rape is one of the most important and sensitive stories I have been part of during my time in Emmerdale. The research, preparation and aftermath of this story has been challenging and eye-opening for me.

"One in four women have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult, and after reading this statistic, I found myself standing in the canteen at ITV looking around as that figure really shocked me."

"I have spoken to and met with women impacted by this crime, but this is very much Lydia's story," she continued. "Emmerdale tackles these socially important stories so well, and I hope anyone impacted by this storyline can seek help and support, because no one should have to face this alone."

craig, lydia dingle, emmerdale

Producer Laura Shaw has explained that the storyline has been developed to "raise awareness of this issue and hopefully encourage any women who have been in a similar position to Lydia to speak out".

Rape Crisis's chief executive, Jayne Butler, credited Emmerdale with addressing an important issue that is sure to "resonate with the thousands of victims and survivors".

"Although it can be difficult to see these experiences reflected on screen, when they are represented realistically and sensitively it can be a really powerful way to raise awareness," Butler said.

This storyline will begin next month in Emmerdale.

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

If you would like more information on real-life issues behind Lydia's storyline in Emmerdale, the soap is working with Rape Crisis — which offers a Sexual Abuse Support Line on 0808 500 2222 24 hours a day, or online at 247sexualabusesupport.org.uk. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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