London actor who sued for thousands over harassment asking others to do the same

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By Ria Chatterjee: ITV News reporter

In character actor Helen Vine can explore life in its different guises. But, a couple of years ago, she was forced to quit a production.

Language that was aggressive that was the most important aspect of it for me at first. I was aware it made me feel, kind of, quite quickly very upset and worked up and vulnerable.

Helen Vine, actor

The abuse, Helen says, was sustained and inescapable with constant remarks.

And in one incident, in a van, on tour, she was photographed whilst sleeping.

The following day I noticed that picture went on social media. That was my breaking point. I was just exhausted, physically and mentally. I think I was also a bit desensitised that there was a big problem here. People who have a completely different career to acting - their reactions were immediately to say, 'in my environment, in my work this would never happen'.

Helen Vine, actor

Helen took her case to actor's union Equity which is working on new guidelines to change the culture.

A space free of fear. A space free of bullying and harassment of any kind. Since the horrendous scandals around the Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey stories the numbers have increased massively. I know that from the staff talking about how many more phone calls they're getting. We're trying to put in some absolutely bottom line - 'this is how everybody needs to behave' - agreements into contracts. That is vitally important. We are rolling out a campaign called 'Creating Safe Spaces' which is a poster - so you walk into a rehearsal room - you walk into a casting suite - you walk backstage into a theatre - there it is, it's the 'Creating Safe Spaces' campaign and the harassment helpline.

Maureen Beattie, Equity

At the tribunal, the director and actor who harassed Helen described their actions as a 'joke'.

Maybe I have more to lose if people don't want to hire me because I'm the girl who spoke up about being sexually harassed - then I feel those are the kind of people I wouldn't want to work with anyway. Actually, the respect, the reaction I've had from people has been overwhelmingly reassuring and positive and made me think I'm so pleased that I have done something about this.

Helen Vine, actor