'Casualty' will aim to raise awareness of sexual consent when character Alicia Munroe is raped by a colleague.

Chelsea Halfpenny as Alicia

Chelsea Halfpenny as Alicia

The long-running BBC medical drama have joined forces with Rape Crisis England & Wales for guidance on the emotive storyline, in which the doctor - portrayed by Chelsea Halfpenny - will be sexually assaulted by Eddie McAllister (Joe Gaminara).

Chelsea told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "I've felt a distinct sense of responsibility for this storyline from the moment Lucy Raffety, our series producer, informed me we were going to explore it here at 'Casualty'.

"I think now, more than ever, it is so important that we use our platform to highlight such an issue.

"Through the sensitive writing, dedicated and passionate directing, and utmost love and support from each and every cast, crew and production member, I believe that we have dealt with the storyline authentically and respectively, and I hope it helps anyone that is, or has been through anything of this nature."

The plot, which will kick off later this month, will see Alicia wake up after a boozy night and remember she didn't give consent to sexual activity.

The story will follow the popular character - who first appeared in September 2015 episode 'Cradle to Grave' - for six weeks as she struggles with what has happened.

Katie Russell, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales, admitted the organisation are hoping the storyline raises "vital awareness" about consent.

She said: "This storyline looks at the central issue of consent, which must be given fully and freely for any and every sexual act by someone with the capacity to do so. Consent can never be assumed; it should be actively sought and enthusiastically given.

"Anything less is an act of sexual violence. Casualty has made efforts to explore this topic responsibly and carefully and we hope it helps to raise vital awareness and understanding.

"Sexual violence can be a difficult topic to handle sensitively on television, not least of all because of the number of common myths and stereotypes that it's vital programme makers are aware of and avoid perpetuating.

"It's important to remember too of course that sexual violence is much more widespread than many people realise so there will inevitably be victims and survivors of rape, child sexual abuse and sexual assault in the audience for any show, for whom this kind of content could be particularly distressing or even triggering.

"This is why its crucial programmes make viewers aware of upcoming storylines like this, as 'Casualty' is doing, so victims and survivors can choose whether or not to watch."