‘Past Mistakes Must Not Be Repeated’ Following HMIC’s Savile Review

Legal Experts React Following Release Of Worrying New Report

13.03.2013

By Rob Dixon

Lawyers contacted for help by a number of people in the aftermath of Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal have called for authorities to ensure that the mistakes seen in the past are not repeated, after worrying new revelations into the police handling of allegations.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has released the findings of its review into the recording and investigation of allegations and found that just five claims of criminal conduct were recorded during the late TV star’s lifetime.

Just two pieces of intelligence information were also picked up, with the figures standing in stark contrast to the fact that more than 600 people have come forward with allegations against Saville since last year.

HMIC also found that police made mistakes in the handling of the allegations and information, with a failure to ‘join the dots’ meaning that a full understanding of the extent of the possible abuse was not gained.

Tracey Storey, a Partner based at Irwin Mitchell’s London office who specialises in acting for victims of child abuse, has been contacted by a huge number of people in relation to the allegations made against Saville, as well as by others encouraged to come forward about other cases as the scandal unfolded.

Commenting on the HMIC findings, she said: “The ongoing priority in relation to the terrible revelations which have emerged about Savile is that those affected by the scandal are given the support they need to fully come to terms with the psychological impact of their experiences.

“However, this HMIC report has put a very clear spotlight on the potential systematic failings which may have not only hampered proper investigation of potential abuse, but also as a result prevented victims from feeling able to come forward a lot sooner in the knowledge that they would get the help they needed.

“Police forces and the Government need to work better to ensure that officers have the right tools at their disposal to ensure that a scandal of this magnitude is simply not allowed to happen again.

“As the HMIC report found, major steps forward have been taken in the last 50 years in relation to the support given to a child who reports abuse. However, as this scandal and many of our other cases show, there remains plenty to be done to ensure that allegations of abuse are fully investigated and – where possible – prevented.

“We would urge the authorities to continue to work as closely as possible to ensure that lessons are comprehensively learned.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to Child Abuse Claims