Veteran British actor Bill Roache has come under fire from campaigners after making controversial comments about victims of sexual abuse.

The Coronation Street star, father of Law & Order actor Linus Roache, spoke about the sensitive subject in an interview on New Zealand's One News Chanel, which aired in the country on Sunday (17Mar13).

Roache told host Garth Bray famous men can be "caught in a trap" by young, overzealous groupies, explaining, "Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with. But there's a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies. These girls, who come, they're sexually active, sexually mature, they don't ask for their birth certificate, they don't know what age they may be. But they're certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap."

When asked by the host whether he is implying that "victims bring things on themselves", Roache replied, "Not quite, but then yes I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives."

The comments have outraged activists, including Dr Jon Bird of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, a victim of childhood abuse himself, who criticised Roache for his remarks, telling Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, "This claim is completely disgusting, and on a deeply personal level I am both hurt and offended - as I am sure many other victims will be. I have spent years undergoing therapy trying to come to terms with what happened to me, while he has enjoyed the privileged life of a well-paid television actor on Coronation Street.

"Mr Roache has belittled the hurt and pain of others without any understanding of the circumstances himself. He should be ashamed of himself."