Since the sickening crimes of Jimmy Savile were revealed in October 2012 the NSPCC helpline has received an unprecedented number of calls from adults talking about non-recent abuse. Over 4500 courageous adults have contacted our practitioners over the past two years, to report concerns and to get advice - over 30 per cent of these cases have been so serious that they have had to be referred to the police.
The high profile cases of Jimmy Savile, Max Clifford and Rolf Harris have sadly reminded some people of the horrors of their childhoods. Some of these adults have remained silent over many decades and have only now found the strength to come forward - however they, like many child victims today, are often worried they won't be believed. It's important that whether your childhood is today or was 30 years ago - we work together to prevent abuse from happening, identify offenders and work with other charities to support those who have been subjected to child abuse.
What is clear is if we are to prevent abuse we need to listen to the men, women and children who have gone through it. Charities like the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) are leading the way by supporting victims of non-recent abuse and ensuring that their voices are heard. Working together with NAPAC we have trained our NSPCC helpline practitioners so that adults who may have been abused in the past have an independent person to talk to. Our helpline, which is mostly delivered through our main 0808 800 5000 number and email address email@example.com, is available 24/7, 365 days a year. People can contact us anonymously which can often encourage someone who is suffering alone to disclose for the first time to.
Over the past two years we have seen a continuing surge in adults calling us about non-recent abuse - but we must not forget the young people of today who are being subjected to abuse and we must remain vigilant and lookout for these children. The high profile cases have put child protection centre stage and have encouraged not only victims of non-recent abuse to speak out but also children who are being subjected to abuse now. Last Christmas a young person contacted ChildLine every four minutes - these are children who are only now finding the courage to disclose what has been happening to them.
The watershed moment for people choosing to speak out was indeed Jimmy Savile - the scale of his abuse over six decades is staggering and unprecedented in this country. Victims of Jimmy Savile's abuse were encouraged to contact the NSPCC to seek help, which resulted in over 250 referrals to the Metropolitan Police as part of Operation Yewtree. Although people will never get the justice they deserve because Savile is dead - the important thing is they know they have been taken seriously and that their suffering is recognised.
Since Operation Yewtree we have been working very closely with other child protection agencies as an independent service for victims. Often these people understandably have uncertainties about wanting to talk to the police straight away or sometimes not at all. Our helpline helps with those uncertainties and in most cases we improve people's understanding of the way child protection agencies and the police work. As well as Operation Yewtree - we are trying to encourage people to contact us about Operation Corvous the Greater Manchester Police led investigation into the allegations that Sir Cyril Smith abused boys and Operation Pallial which is investigating allegations of non-recent child abuse carried out in children's homes across North Wales.
Only last week former DJ Ray Teret was jailed for 25 years for a series of rapes and indecent assaults on girls as young as 12 - four of his victims were supported by the NSPCC helpline and the information they provided helped the police build their case.
The public's trust in charities such as us and NAPAC teamed with the fact the NSPCC helpline provides a safe, non-judgemental, independent space for people to talk about their experiences means that more people than ever are seeking support. Hearing from so many victims of abuse dating back 10, 20, 30 or indeed 60 years ago confirms absolutely that every childhood is worth fighting for.
If you have a concern about a child or want advice then please contact us here at the NSPCC helpline by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, texting 88858 or using an online reporting form which can be found at www.nspcc.org.uk
Your call could help change someone's life.
NSPCC Head of Child Protection Operations