Victims come forward over Savile publicity
Publicity surrounding Jimmy Savile's trail of sexual abuse has triggered a surge in abuse victims coming forward whose cases are unrelated to that of the late TV presenter, according to Britain’s biggest children’s charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
The charity said 5,000 calls were taken by its helpline last October alone after the ITV Exposure programme on Savile was broadcast.
One of the recognised outcomes of the charity’s joint report with the Metropolitan Police was a “significant rise in the level of reporting of past sexual abuse of children”.
NSPCC director of child protection advice and awareness Peter Watt said nearly 800 additional children have been protected from abuse due to the attention given to the allegations against Savile.
He said: “We also know from the huge increase in calls to the NSPCC helpline about sexual abuse that the problem did not die with Savile.
“Since the Savile scandal broke we have seen a surge in contacts about child abuse, both past and present, with many victims speaking out for the first time.
“We are optimistic that this signals a watershed moment for child protection in this country. We must seize the opportunity if we are to make a lasting change.”
Addressing doubts over the motivations of some of those who came forward to make allegations against Savile, Mr Watt said the version of events given by some showed that it was “beyond doubt” that the attacks took place.
He added: “The sheer scale of Savile’s abuse over six decades simply beggars belief. He is without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across and every number represents a victim that will never get justice, now he is dead.
“But with this report we can at least show his victims that they have been taken seriously and their suffering has been recognised.”
Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, a victim of child abuse himself, said: “I want us to forget Jimmy Savile. He is not worthy of memory. But I want us to remember his many victims and the victims out there unable to come forward.”