Gabrielle Union was inspired to launch schemes to help abused Los Angeles children after her turn in an episode of TV show CITY OF ANGELS helped thousands of rape victims overcome their demons.

The Welcome To Collinwood actress - herself the victim of a rape - featured in a harrowing City Of Angels story in 2000 about a rapist and the women he'd left ruined, and her heartfelt performance prompted a series of sexually abused females to personally thank her for making them feel better about their past horror.

So Union decided to set up a series of community outreach programs to help at-risk kids in harsh LA neighbourhoods.

She says, "I first talked about it when City of Angels was on TV. The show had a story line about a rapist. The number of women who came to me and said 'Me, too' was alarming and scary. I felt that it was a real chance to talk about something that matters."

Union has also lobbied the California state legislature to secure more funding for rape crisis centres.

27/04/2005 02:50