UK & World News

  • 6 January 2014, 12:24

Jimmy Savile Victims Call For Single Inquiry

A single, judge-led inquiry should replace the multiple investigations currently taking place into Jimmy Savile, according to the lawyer representing some of the people abused by the late BBC presenter.

There are now at least 30 inquiries into the activities of Savile - who escaped justice after sexually abusing young people for half a century.

These take in the NHS, Crown Prosecution Service, Independent Police Complaints Commission and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Solicitor Alan Collins, who represents 60 people abused by Savile, told Sky News Online: "There should be one, single inquiry, that's the view of the victims.

"There are now so many inquiries taking place, there is a danger that an opportunity to get to the whole truth may be lost.

"But there has to be a political will for this to happen because it will need to be sanctioned by Parliament. It's make-or-break time now.

"Many of the victims have had to give evidence to the police and to some of these inquiries.

"People want the truth, they want two questions answered: How? And why? That's all they want."

The former DJ and TV presenter died in 2011, but a year later an ITV programme exposed him as a serial abuser.

Within weeks of it being broadcast, hundreds of people had contacted various police forces across the UK to claim they too had been abused by Savile.

Children's charity the NSPCC has received 326 calls about Savile to date since that programme aired.

There has been an 81% increase in contact to its helpline about sexual abuse and a rise of more than a quarter (30%) in calls about all types of abuse.

A NSPCC spokesman said it agreed there needed to be some way of bringing together all of the lessons learned from the inquiries currently taking place.

But the charity believes that the current inquiries should not be stopped or merged into one all-encompassing investigation, the spokesman added.

Peter Watt, the helpline's director, said the NSPCC was still receiving calls from victims and witnesses about Savile, the most recent of which was just before Christmas.

He said: "The emerging picture is that the key to stopping abuse like this is helping children to speak out and then taking them seriously when they do.

"Savile escaped justice because people didn't want to hear or believe what children were saying.

"If one glimmer of hope is to come from this torrid affair, it is that children today will be safer because we all learn to listen."

The BBC's independent inquiry into what the Corporation knew about Savile is due to report its findings this month.

Led by Dame Janet Smith, it has contacted 720 people and spoken to 140 witnesses.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed in November that 19 hospitals are carrying out their own inquiries into Savile.

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