Clare Crabb, Assistant Director for the North West, for the National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children, appraises the fall-out from the Jimmy Savile case and the support now available…
Jimmy Savile’s appalling crimes were committed over more than four decades and impacted hundreds of people across the country. The scale of his offending still beggars belief. He was one of the most prolific sex offenders the UK has ever seen and despite widespread rumours and some suspicion, avoided justice in his lifetime depriving his victims of some sort of closure.
The NSPCC runs a Helpline which provides support and advice for adults who are concerned about the wellbeing of children, also for those who have experienced abuse when they were younger.
Following Savile’s death and revelations about his crimes, the NSPCC Helpline – which has a base in Salford – received hundreds of calls from adults who wanted to share information about offences committed by the disgraced presenter.
The fact that contacts made to the NSPCC Helpline remained high for many months after his death suggests Savile’s case was a catalyst to many people who had suffered child sexual abuse, both at his hands and by others, speaking out.
More than a decade on, it feels fair to say that society’s attitude towards child sexual abuse and the willingness for people to report it and how police approach these investigations has significantly changed.
It is vital that children who suffer abuse or are at risk of being abused have someone who they trust that they can speak to. Our Childline service, which has one of its 12 bases in the Salford NSPCC building, has specially trained counsellors who offer help to children across the UK whenever they need support. They can do this confidentially over the phone or through the Childline website.*
It can be very hard for children to speak out about abuse. Often, they fear there may be negative consequences if they tell anyone what’s happening to them. This is why our Schools Service visits primary schools across Greater Manchester and the whole of the UK to share our Speak Out Stay Safe programme. These workshops are delivered in age-appropriate language and designed to help children understand the different types of abuse and how to spot the signs and to speak out so they can get help if they need it.
Savile’s appalling campaign of abuse went unstopped while he devastated the lives of hundreds of people. It is crucial that young people and adults know how, and have the confidence, to speak up about child sexual abuse so they seek support and intervention.
The NSPCC is here to ensure children and adults know that whatever it is they have experienced, they don’t need to go through it alone…
*Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 24 hours a day or visit www.childline.org.uk for support and advice or to use our moderated message boards. It’s a safe and confidential service, and won’t show up on your phone bill.
*Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000, email email@example.com, or find more advice and information on the NSPCC website www.nspcc.org.uk
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