Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Helpline calls up after Savile case

The NSPCC says the Jimmy Savile scandal has changed the way in which people react to abuse

The fallout of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal has seen the number of calls made to a charity helpline reporting sex abuse nearly double compared with last year.

Staff at the NSPCC received 594 calls to its helpline in June and July this year to report sexual abuse, compared with 323 in the same period last year.

John Cameron, head of the helpline, said: "The number of calls we took this summer was significantly higher than last year. Eight months on, we can confidently say that the Savile scandal is changing the way in which people react to abuse. There appears to be a clear shift and the public now seem better equipped and more confident to report their concerns."

He continued: "It's very encouraging to see that adults, including those who don't have direct responsibility for children, take action if they think a child is at risk.

"The Savile scandal has shocked the nation but has also increased public awareness of how difficult it is for children to speak out and how crucial it is for adults to report any suspicions or concerns they have straight away."

The latest figures show the number of calls that were referred to police and social services.

Savile was unveiled as one of the UK's most prolific sexual predators by police who launched a national investigation into abuse claims at the end of last year.

They found that he had abused hundreds of victims over 54 years, including at schools, hospitals and a children's home.

Britain's top prosecutor, Keir Starmer, also admitted that Savile could have been charged over offences against at least three victims before his death in 2011.

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