Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Is Savile about the victims or the BBC

My worry is that the Savile abuse story is more about how the BBC were so woefullly inept, in that they looked aside when Jimmy was at it with young girls, rather than about how badly damaged his victims were.

It is quite shocking that, as each day passes, yet another victim surfaces. Often paedophiles like a certain age and sex of victim. It seems that Savile's sexual appetite was varied and inexhaustible. At first we were led to believe that his victims were young girls, the younger the better. Now we discover that he was into all types of vulnerable victims, boys, girls, the mentally disabled, the ill and hospitalised, the physically handicapped - just the aged left I suppose.

Peter Saunders, whom I first met many years ago, and leads NAPAC (National Association of People Abused in Childhood) was on the Radio 4 Today programme, in order to complain that the story was more about the media having a pop at itself because of the disgraceful way in which the BBC shelved a programme to boost ratings for a tribute to a paedophile DJ, than being concerned for the horrendous psychological damage done to victims who blame themselves for remaining silent for so many years.

Peter and other survivor groups have been absolutely inundated with a huge rise in calls from people, not only Savile victims. wanting help because they have been abused  in childhood. The point is that this is no normal abuse investigation. It involves all areas of public bodies: the BBC, Leeds General Infirmary, Stove Mandeville Hospital, Broadmoor, Haute Garenne Children's Home in Jersey, Duncliffe School for Girls. Now we hear that there may have been a paedophile ring at the BBC with various flunkies finding young girls for Savile.

The media advise me that this story will run and run. How will it develop one wonders? I predict that, sooner or later, the story will turn into "How do we know that all these women are telling the truth? After all Savile is dead isn't he?" I have had such comments from friends who have been following the news. Then we will have the usual debate about whether taking advantage of a girl, who is nearly 16, in an age of sexual liberation, was really worthy of being called paedophilia.

Honourable though most of the media are, they are all in competition with each other, to find new stories, or "news" rather than "not new news". So for a big story like this, new angles are being sought all the time. Having experienced the way the media works for over 20 years, I can see that the competition for new stories may take second place to the sensitivities and needs of the victims.

What do I think should happen? Well, this is a bit left field but:-
  1. Give the support groups extra funds to help cope with the rise in abuse enquiries
  2. Organise a form of no fault compensation system, which includes payment of legal fees, similar to the Coal Dust compensation scheme, and the Irish Redress Scheme. The point is that the victims are so badly scarred that they need help to make their claims. The cries of "you can do it yourself love with a bit of help from volunteers" is unrealistic. The victims do not want years of contested civil court claims, though a recognition by the guilty corporations that they slipped up is a better recognition of some form of justice.
  3. Cancel the internal allegedly independent BBC enquires, and announce a proper transparent public enquiry into all Savile's abuse rather than several separate enquiries into the various abuse location.
One final thought...we must not get confused about the age at which girls can be abused. It matters not how old they are. If they were assaulted without their consent, they can be 9 or 90. It makes no difference; think on.....

Monday, 22 October 2012

Plea for Jimmy Savile Witnesses

I have given an interview to Key 103 Radio, which should be broadcast tomorrow morning on the breakfast programme, asking for other victims of Savile to come forward in order to support the Claimant we have taken instructions from, who also is a victim of Savile abuse.

After all Savile is dead and unable to answer any allegations we make against him. So the more support we have for her allegations the better.

She alleges that Savile befriended as a 14 year old and lost interest when he she came of age. It is a typically sad story that I fear is typical

Monday, 15 October 2012

Is the Savile cover up a surprise?

Frankly, the answer to the cover up of the Jimmy Savile paedophile proclivity for many years is no surprise at all. I have seen there are so many examples of exactly the same profile of behaviour in all our abuse case at Abney Garsden McDonald for the last 20 years in that we have specialised in abuse work for victims. The question is why, and what are the repeated patterns of behaviour?

According to reports, the Metropolitan Police, under the very capable hands of Peter Stringer are following up to 340 individual lines of enquiry from up to 60 individuals through 14 police area forces. The alleged falsely accused will jump on the bandwagon, and shout "Well if it was really true, why didn't they come forward at the time?" There are multiple reasons for silence in a victim, which are shame, humiliation, threats, lack of appropriate trusting adult, and finally the natural human reaction to lock away in the memory of the brain, any unpleasant or traumatic experience, in order to protect the conscious mind. We all do it, it is natural.

I looked at this quick timeline done by the BBC on Savile, which misses out some reported  stories, but refers to -
  1. A woman who was 14 in the 1960's made a complaint to Lancashire police
  2. There are allegations as to his volunteer work at Stoke Mandeville hospital as a porter - Caroline Moore then 13 says Savile "rammed his tongue down her throat"
  3. There are allegations surrounding his work at Leeds hospital. Another patient, June Thornton who was immobile due to spinal surgery at the time saw him molest a patient who was disabled in the same ward.
  4. A 12 year old girl from a children's home in Leeds says Savile abused her.
  5. The ITV programme revealed his abuse of girls whilst visiting a Duncroft home for girls in Surrey.
  6. A girl alleges that  Saville assaulted her in Worthing in 1980. Although reported to Surrey police, the victim did not want to proceed with her allegation
  7. A woman alleged assault in the 1980's in Scarborough
  8. Saville, it turns out was investigated as part of the Haut de la Garenne Jersey investigation.
  9. The Department of Health are looking into why they appointed Savile as the Chairman of a task force into the management of Broadmoor, where there now appear to be allegations.
There are so many examples of employees of the BBC and others hearing or witnessing Savile molesting young women that with the benefit of hindsight, we wonder why on earth he was not investigated and prosecuted years ago.

One also must question his motives for doing so much good work for charity. One cannot be completely mean. I have personal knowledge of the benevolence of the man albeit hearsay. I can only repeat the words of one of the first wise Police investgating officers into child abuse in care institutions. At the time a lot of survivor groups were making allegations of corruption right to the top of government. It smacked of paranoia. They were calling on the police to investigate a conspiracy. When I asked Terry Oates about it, he said "Peter, if you like golf, you join a golf club. If you like kids you become a residential care worker. All the kids you need are there ready. What do you need paedophile rings for?" He was of course right.

So why did those who heard the rumours not believe them?
  1. Jimmy Savile was a celebrity. No one wanted to burst his bubble. He did so much good work for charity. How could such a good man be guilty of such horrors.
  2. It is the same argument as Catholic Priests. Just as Jimmy was worshipped by his fans and was a God like figure who did good things like play pop music, and be happy, and do work for charity, so were priests God like characters. They were closer to the Lord, indeed they were agents of the Lord. So how could such a person do such things. It was unthinkable to even contemplate such rumours. Far easier to continue to believe the hero worship thing than ruin the belief.
  3. So why did the BBC not do anything about it and conduct an investgation. They are now doing two enquiries. Simple. They all believed the same good stories and dismissed the bad. It was an easier option. So many complaints were made, and there is so much evidence that people like Esther Ranzen feel very guilty, and no wonder.
  4. The fall from grace and the harm it would cause to the charitable arm of the Savile empire took on an importance which appeared to be greater than the rights of the victims - unfortunately. Such sacrificial lambs should obviously have taken on a greater importance.
  5. Savile, like all paedophiles had power, which he abused. As a celebrity, he had more power than most, which he used to his advantage. After all, how does a paedophile gain the trust of young people? Not by being weird or unpleasant, but by being fun, relaxed, and nice. This is how he won over his victims. He had extra power though - fame. What an advantage.
So were the BBC negligent in ignoring complaints, and turning a blind eye? Of course they were. There is such a thing as constructive knowledge. This means that if you should realise something and shut your mind to the obvious then the law can fix you with the knowledge it deems that you should have. So the BBC had the knowledge and did not react appropriately, hence the negligence. If there had been an investigation when the first complaint arose then countless children no doubt would have been spare - enough said

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

What should victims of Jimmy Savile be doing now?

There is no doubt that the media splurge on Jimmy Savile is too little to late. It is alleged in the papers by his victims that he has been abusing young girls for many years under the noses of various figures of authority, who were so under the Savile spell that they were reluctant to "blow the whistle". He had become so involved with charity and done so much good work to help them that no one wanted to "burst the bubble".

So what should the victims do - my advice would be to report the abuse to the police in an effort to at least tell someone in authority what has been going on even though he is dead, and to sue for compensation even after all these years. This is what we do at Abney Garsden McDonald even though many years have passed, and often the abuser is dead. If enough victims come forward, a group action could easily be started. It appears that a special investigation has been set up at the BBC, which will make the victims feel that at least something is being done. The results, hopefully, will be publicised and transparency employed.

It is typical of the history of cover ups we have heard about over the years that this secret has remained unpublished for so many years. We have seen it in the Catholic Church, and now at the BBC.

It is not rocket science that if a grown adult is able to seek the confidence of a young child, and perform abusive acts upon him or her, then that same abuser is also able to keep the abusive act a secret for so long by threats, grooming, manipulation, and fear. It is typical of any abuse that the subterfuge employed by the abuser is sophisticated, and clever.

Abusers are not dirty old men with greasy hair, long raincoats, and an obviously weird nature. Sadly they appear as normal as you and me. They are usually charming, relaxed with children, and interested in childlike pursuits. This is how they get under the skin of the children they abuse, win their confidence with gifts, treats, and "something special". Jimmy Savile was a larger than life character, who dressed a bit like a clown, and would therefore have appealed to children, when he looned about, and acted daft.

He was so much in the public eye that many people had contact with him, and can bear testimony to his past. Many of them have already been interviewed - his chauffeur is one very good example.
  1. The BBC - it is now well documented that there were many rumours and allegations about Savile's conduct, and as such more should have been done years ago. They undoubtedly had a duty of care to those visiting the premises. For some of the time Savile may even have been a BBC employee. It appears that there was "constructive knowledge" of what was going on, and as such negligence.

  2. The estate of Jimmy Savile. Even though he has been dead for over a year, it is not too late to bring proceedings against his estate on behalf of the girls involved. The lawyers will shout "time delay" or "Limitation" as we lawyers call it, and there will be argument, but it is never too late.
  3. The school in Surrey - it appears that Savile is alleged to have abused girls whilst visiting a school in Surrey. If they were negligent in any way because they heard rumours and did nothing about it, then they could also be culpable. How well supervised were the girls when they went to the school? Were they allowed to be on their own with him? Was this the way in which a school with its responsibilities to young children should have cared for children?
Whether anything will come of these allegations remains to be seen. They should certainly seek advice, if nothing else.

There is no doubt from the reports I have read that the behaviour of Savile has affected the lives of these girls who are now women, and that they should be compensated for their losses. At the very least, they should be allowed to "speak their truth", and be heard.