1. ITV Report

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

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