UK
02/10/2013 03:29 BST | Updated 02/10/2013 06:51 BST

Jimmy Savile Sex Abuse Revelations See 40% Rise In Calls To Rape Crisis

The scandalous ITV documentary, which revealed how Jimmy Saville preyed on children, teens and even patients in the hospitals he patronised, could be the key to a 40% rise in calls to rape crisis hotlines in the past 12 months, experts believe.

Since the documentary was broadcast on 3 October 2012, the National Rape Crisis Helpline has received 78,000 calls, compared with 55,000 during the previous 12 months.

“Shocking as the revelations of the last year have been, they’ve reinforced what we within the Rape Crisis movement have learnt through our 40 years’ experience of providing specialist support to women and girls; that sexual violence sadly happens a lot more than most people think, and that the impacts for the survivor can be devastating and lifelong," Rape Crisis' Katie Russell said.

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Many of Saville's victims came forward in adulthood, abused as children

Savile, now believed to have been one of the UK's most prolific sexual predators before his death in 2011, was the subject of a national police investigation.

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

His youngest victim is believed to have been an eight-year-old boy, but most were youngsters between 13 and 16 at the time, fans of his TV shows Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It.

He assaulted children and young girls 33 times in TV and radio studios, and 14 times in schools, according to the police investigation.

Russell said she believed that as many of Savile's victims had come forward late into adulthood, after being molested as children, the case has been an opportunity for “so many of these survivors have at last been heard, recognised, believed, and given the confidence to seek support, often for the very first time.

“We know from this frontline work how difficult it can be for those raped and sexually abused as children to seek help at the time. This is reflected in the fact that 450 survivors have reported Savile since his death, while only four felt able to during his lifetime."

Joint Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released in January 2013 estimated that over 85,000 women are raped and over 400,000 are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. Only around 15% currently report to the police.

Russell said the government needed to step in to keep rape crisis services funded, and open longer. "Sexual violence survivors deserve and have the right to sustainable services, invested in by government,” she said.

Joint Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released in January 2013 estimated that over 85,000 women are raped and over 400,000 are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. Only around 15% currently report to the police.

In August, the NSPCC said calls reporting sex abuse have almost doubled because of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

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