Jimmy Savile: victims were laughed at and ignored

Feb 24, 2014

Her Majesty's Inspector says police attitudes must change in wake of Jimmy Savile scandal

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JIMMY SAVILE'S victims were ignored, dismissed and sometimes even "laughed at", says a report by the children's charity the NSPCC.

The report reveals that some of the children and young adults that Savile preyed upon were told they should "feel lucky" that the DJ had paid them attention.

Peter Watt, the NSPCC director of national services, says: "The responses these victims received when they first revealed Savile's sickening crimes make heart-rending reading. They were ignored, dismissed, not believed, laughed at and astonishingly told in some cases they should feel lucky he had paid them attention."

The NSPCC interviewed 26 of Savile's victims to compile the report, which was commissioned by the police watchdog, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, to try to explain why so many victims had remained silent for so long.

The report says that it was only when the scandal broke in September 2012 and the extent of Savile's crimes began to emerge that the victims felt able to report their experiences.

"Many said they were encouraged to come forward because of what they had seen and heard in the media about others starting to speak out. For some, the time now 'felt right' to be heard," the report says.

The report recommends that new measures should be imposed to combat low rates of reporting. "The police service and the College of Policing should establish ways to encourage the reporting of sexual crimes, creating a culture and operating practices that do not contain perverse incentives to the detriment of victims and the public," it says.

Her Majesty's Inspector Drusilla Sharpling states: "In our report 'Mistakes were Made' we made it clear that action must be taken to create a positive environment in which victims feel at ease in coming forward and reporting what has happened to them to the police."

Watt adds that the public should be made aware of the signs of abuse to "ensure there is never a repeat of the Savile scandal" and praised victims for their "true courage" in coming forward to speak to police.

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