The sex scandal surrounding Jimmy Savile has helped raise awareness of child sex abuse, thanks to victims speaking out,
But bosses at the NSPCC, which has seen a huge increase in calls to its helpline following publicity, say they are concerned child sex abuse could be seen as something of the past from the Seventies, and not something happening today.
The children’s charity is also worried that victims remain unsure where to turn for help, or hesitate to report child abuse until they feel 100 per cent certain – something that rarely happens.
Peter Watt, director of the NSPCC helpline, said: “By bravely speaking out, Savile’s victims have done a great public service in raising awareness of child sex abuse and its long-lasting, devastating effects. Child abuse remains a widespread problem and children are still abused today. To end their suffering and bring abusers to justice we must act now.
“Savile’s victims waited decades to be heard and helped. We can’t let this happen again.
“He caused unimaginable suffering, but it has put child protection in the spotlight. The NSPCC and other charities such as NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood) and Rape Crisis have seen a rise in calls.”
The NSPCC and the police identified more than 450 victims of sexual abuse at Savile’s hands. Eighty per cent of these were children or young people and the offences include over 30 rapes.
Anyone with concerns can contact the NSPCC 24 hours a day on 0808 800 5000, or contact the NSPCC website.
The scandal may not have a big enough effect on social attitudes towards child abuse, a former leading judge said yesterday.
Baroness Butler-Sloss, who chaired the Cleveland Child Abuse Inquiry, said it was vital that girls under 16 were seen as victims in abuse cases: “What worries me about Jimmy Savile and the appalling story is everybody will be terribly upset for a while and then it will die down.”