British TV personality Jimmy Savile sexually abused children as young as two during his decades of sex offending, he also had at least 500 victims, an NSPCC study has concluded. Most of his victims were girls aged 13 – 15 years old but some were adults and others were very small children.
The revelations prompted a lawyer acting for 170 of his victims to call for a new law requiring professionals at institutions like schools to report abuse or face criminal penalties themselves.
Liz Dux fears that a similar situation could arise today as some organisations are keen to cover up abuse for fear of damaging their own reputation. She told Sky News: “This report looks at those in authority who knew, who were effectively complicit in what Savile was up to, who knew and allowed him to continue for the sake of their organisation because he was raising money or giving their organisation kudos or because of his celebrity status.
“If he had been stopped earlier so many ruined lives could have been saved. What is so disgraceful is that these people who knew and allowed him to continue can’t be brought to task.
“At the moment we don’t have any kind of law of mandatory reporting and that’s what we want to change … so that never again can people put their own organisation before the safety and welfare of children.
“Until we have a change in the law I’m afraid this kind of dreadful scandal could happen again. It is dangerous to say this is something that happened in the 1970s and couldn’t happen now.
“I’m still seeing examples of abuse in schools where head teachers have been told of abuse and have failed to take action because they’re worried about the reputation of their establishment.”
Throughout his career Savile raised millions for charity, but in reality it seems his actions were motivated by a desire to gain access to vulnerable people rather than anything more altruistic. He was a regular visitor at childrens’ homes, hospitals and schools.
In one bizarre case he was given the keys to the Broadmoor High Security mental hospital, home to some of Britain’s most dangerous offenders. Savile would come and go as he pleased with little or no supervision. Whilst on visits he is said to have befriended a number of highly dangerous inmates.
Despite recent reports and allegations there are still serious questions around the TV star’s relationship with the BBC. The corporation continues to deny that it deliberately turned a blind eye to his offending, but they have found it hard to explain how they failed to notice such a weight of evidence against him.