Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Jimmy Savile scandal triggers an increase in Northern Ireland abuse claims

Jimmy Savile on a charity walk in Northern Ireland in June 1974 BELFAST TELEGRAPH LIBRARY
Jimmy Savile on a charity walk in Northern Ireland in June 1974
Jimmy Savile on a visit to Belfast in June 1974
Slogans painted on Alt-na-reigh, the Glencoe cottage owned by Jimmy Savile. On the left 'Jimmy the beast' and right a symbol showing a triangle with an eye above it resembling the 'Eye of Providence' used in Masonic imagery
GLEN COE, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 29: Slogans painted on Alt-na-reigh, the cottage owned by Jimmy Savile, which police searched last week as investigations continue on October 29, 2012 in Glen Coe, Scotland. The cottage is situated next to the A82 road that runs from Fort William to Glasgow and was vandalised over the weekend after police searched it last week as part of the UK wide investigation into alleged child abuse by the former television presenter. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLEN COE, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 29: Slogans painted on Alt-na-reigh, the cottage owned by Jimmy Savile, which police searched last week as investigations continue on October 29, 2012 in Glen Coe, Scotland. The cottage is situated next to the A82 road that runs from Fort William to Glasgow and was vandalised over the weekend after police searched it last week as part of the UK wide investigation into alleged child abuse by the former television presenter. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Sir Jimmy Savile will be buried in the North Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough
Jimmy Savile was never a hero but he was certainly held up as a great man
Jimmy Savile
Surrey police investigated allegations against Jimmy Savile made in 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives Sir Jimmy Savile a commemorative badge from at Downing Street in London for his work as a 'Bevin Boy'. Picture date: Tuesday 25th March, 2008. The "Boys", who worked in Britain's coal mines during the Second World War, are being recognised with a special honour to mark their service.
Jimmy Savile during a sponsored charity walk in Belfast on the Ravenhill Road in November 1976
FILE - OCTOBER 01, 2012: ITV is scheduled to broadcast a documentary this Wednesday, "Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile", in which allegations are presented that the former television presenter and disc-jockey sexually abused teenage girls. 5th November 1973: Jimmy Savile OBE, British disc jockey, television broadcaster and charity fundraiser. (Photo by R. Poplowski/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Funeral director Robert Morphet stands next to the grave of Sir Jimmy Savile in Woodlands Cemetery, Scarborough, where he assisted the local council in removing the headstone at the request of Savile's family.
FILE - OCTOBER 01, 2012: ITV is scheduled to broadcast a documentary this Wednesday, "Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile", in which allegations are presented that the former television presenter and disc-jockey sexually abused teenage girls. 4th February 1965: Disc-jockey, Jimmy Savile poses by a portrait of himself, painted by a friend, while enjoying his regular breakfast of coke and a cigar in the Bloomsbury hotel room which he has made his home. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
FILE - OCTOBER 01, 2012: ITV is scheduled to broadcast a documentary this Wednesday, "Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile", in which allegations are presented that the former television presenter and disc-jockey sexually abused teenage girls. 4th February 1965: Disc-jockey, Jimmy Savile lights his breakfast cigar in the Bloomsbury hotel room which he has made his home. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
Jimmy Savile - pictured here presenting Top of the Pops in 1976 - has died (BBC/PA)

The courage of the victims of paedophile Jimmy Savile has helped lift the lid on a Pandora’s box of hidden child abuse in Northern Ireland.

The Nexus Institute, which deals with adults who experienced childhood sexual abuse, has reported a massive surge in calls following the relentless succession of scandals surrounding Savile.

Nexus’s four offices in Belfast, Londonderry, Enniskillen and Portadown have been inundated over recent days as more and more victims of the Jim'll Fix It presenter come forward.

Helena Bracken, director of Nexus in Derry, said that the first call they received when the Savile story broke came from a 79-year-old woman who had suppressed what had happened to her all her life.

A distressed elderly man has also made contact because his wife, herself a child abuse victim, took the constant revelations surrounding Savile very badly and began self-medicating.

Another elderly man rang in concerned that his grand-daughter was being abused.

“We have noticed a major increase,” Ms Bracken said.

“Most of the people said the trigger to them getting in touch had been the events surrounding the Jimmy Savile saga.

“Most of the people contacting us here in this office are 40-plus.

“We had one lady in here talking about Jimmy Savile and saying that he might have been in England but that there are people in every jurisdiction and town who had abused children.

“She said the person who abused her had been a well-known person as well, and she had not had any counselling.

“We have also had a couple of ex-clients who had gone through counselling and moved on with their lives, but this dragged things back up and made them uncomfortable.

“We had a woman who said that she had picked up the phone umpteen times over the past five years but never called.

“She said the Jimmy Savile thing has pushed her over that edge.”

Ms Bracken said the effects of childhood sexual abuse were well known and varied. They include depression, self-medicating, self-harming, excessive drinking, over-eating or under-eating, poor parenting and poor relationships. She said the historical barriers to people reporting abuse were still very much in place.

“The whole issue is still surrounded in secrecy,” added Ms Bracken.

“People still feel they are to blame, there is still guilt, and it is still such a taboo thing.”

Ms Bracken said the majority of victims they have worked with at Nexus in Derry had no intention of bringing the perpetrators through the courts.

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