Jimmy Savile scandal fuels charity helpline calls

By Lareese Craig and Serena Doherty

Sexual-abuse victims have been empowered recently to contact charities about their experiences due in large part to the Jimmy Savile allegations.

There have been 161 calls concerning allegations of the fallen presenter committing sexual abuse of underage girls over a 40 year period.

The Panorama documentary from BBC One on the Jim’ll Fix It host and an investigation into Newsnight’s refusal to broadcast the revealing show has fuelled the publicity of this scandal.

In 2011-2012 there was a fall in calls to the NSPCC by 445 from the previous year but the charity attributed this to the use of mobile phones and the internet to contact help lines.

Media coverage of the Savile scandal has now caused an unprecedented spike in phone calls over the past month in Sussex.

Charities have attributed the rise in calls from victims or people concerned about victims to the publicity of so many people coming forward in the case.

The rise has been reflected nationwide as victims are slowly finding the confidence to report and share their experience.

Lifecentre a West Sussex counselling and helpline organisation for people who have been sexually abused has reported a 70% rise in referred cases and more than 1, 000 visitors to its website this month.

The charity based in Chichester, Sussex, said the number of people visiting its website had increased to 3,437which is a 64 per cent rise compared with September.

Director Maggie Ellis said, “There is a huge number of people who have never had the help that they need. For a lot of people, their big fear is they will be met with cynicism and disbelief.

The profile of the Jimmy Savile case is giving people courage to help them get the support they need, and to believe that they will be met with concern and positive support.”

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) says it has had 2,500 calls in three weeks. It usually receives 200 to 300 a week.

Two charities which were set up by the former Top of the Pops host have been closed this week due to the growing allegations.

The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust and the Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust have shut down because they believe that the charities could not be separated from the trustee.

A statement has been issued on their behalf which said, “The trustees’ primary concern is to protect the charitable causes that they support.

“The trustees feel that, whatever new name they may adopt, the charities will always be linked in the public’s mind with the late Jimmy Savile.”

For help and advice in Sussex you can contact Chichester charity, Lifecentre helpline 01243 786349, by ringing NSPCC Childline 0800 1111 or their help and advice line on 0808 800 5000.

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