Focus Needs To Be On Helping Jimmy Savile Abuse Victims

Leading Child Abuse Lawyer Urges Authorities Not To Forget The People At The Heart Of The Scandal


As the full extent of Jimmy Savile’s crimes against children unfolds, leading child abuse lawyer Tracey Storey of Irwin Mitchell urges the authorities not to forget the people at the heart of this scandal – the children alleged to have been abused by Savile.

Police have described DJ and television presenter Savile as a predatory sex offender and believe that he may have abused many people, including young girls, over a 40 year period. 

Tracey Storey, a specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who has represented many victims of child abuse, comments: “We have been inundated with calls from people who have been affected by the Savile scandal. People are seeking support and advice after struggling for many years to come to terms with horrific abuse in childhood. 

“In the flood of media stories about all this, we should not forget the people that have had the courage to speak out and who have been living with the disabling effects of abuse for many years.

“It is often the case that high profile cases such as this trigger painful memories.  In fact, this scandal is giving courage to some survivors to speak out for the first time.  More people are disclosing and seeking therapeutic help.  Survivors are being empowered and this is an important reminder to us all of how prevalent abuse is and how we must all be vigilant about safeguarding children.” 

Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said:
“NAPAC as an organisation has seen a huge surge in calls to its helpline.  Long before this scandal, victims would keep the sexual abuse they have suffered a secret for decades.  One of the devastating effects of abuse is the feeling of isolation it creates. 

“With the number of people coming forward now, people don’t feel so isolated and now feel able to speak out.  All this has made society wake up to what sexual abuse can do to a child and the lifelong effects it can potentially have.  We are beginning to see a change in the consciousness of the country.  People are starting to realise how damaging child abuse is how widespread it is and how important child protection measures really are.”

The Metropolitan Police launched a formal criminal investigation into Savile’s offences on 19 October 2012.  The Police are following up 400 lines of enquiry and in total more than 200 potential victims have been identified.  The offending appears to have been on a national scale and mainly involved teenage girls, although two young boys are said to have made allegations also.  The allegations stem from 1959 up to 2006. 

Revelations of alleged abuse committed by Savile have prompted claims about other public figures – mainly stemming from the 1970s and the 1980s.

The Department of Health has said that it will investigate why Savile was appointed to lead a “task force” at Broadmoor, a high security psychiatric hospital in 1998.  Abuse is also alleged to have taken place at Stoke Mandeville and Leeds General Infirmary where Savile volunteered. 

Allegations have been made against the BBC and their response to the Savile sex abuse scandal, with Director General, George Entwistle, stating that “One cannot look back with anything other than horror, frankly, that ... his activities went on as long as they did undetected”.  Additionally BBC Newsnight editor, Peter Rippon, has stepped aside amid an enquiry into why Newsnight dropped its investigation about Savile. 

The BBC has been criticised for not calling Savile’s behaviour into question and flagging up any abuse allegations during his long career at the Corporation. 

If that were not enough, two charities set out in Savile’s name are to close after their trustees decided that keeping them open could be damaging to the causes they support.

While various commemorations to Savile’s memory have now been removed including a footpath sign and a plaque outside his former flat.  A triple headstone marking Savile’s grave has been removed and destroyed in accordance with his family’s wishes.  Calls have been made for his OBE and Knighthood to be removed posthumously.