UK & World News

  • 27 March 2014, 18:12

Savile: Homes And Schools To Be Investigated

More than 20 children's homes and schools across England are to be investigated in connection with claims that Jimmy Savile abused children there.

The allegations into the disgraced TV presenter, dating back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s, have been given to the Department for Education (DfE) after a review of documents by the Metropolitan Police.

Local authorities and other relevant institutions have been asked to look into the claims, Education Secretary Michael Gove said in a written statement, explaining that human rights lawyer Lucy Scott-Moncrieff would oversee the process.

"I have asked Lucy Scott-Moncrieff to ensure that investigating organisations take all practicable steps to establish what happened and why at the time of the incidents, and any lessons there might be to inform current safeguarding practice in our schools and children's homes," Mr Gove said.

Lawyer Alan Collins of Slater and Gordon, which represents 140 of Savile's victims, said: "We welcome any investigation that will uncover further how widespread Savile's abuse was. It is important that we know exactly when, where and how this predatory paedophile committed his horrific crimes.

"Mr Gove's announcement comes in the same week that he told MPs the Government would investigate the possibility of introducing compulsory reporting for heads of institutions where children and the vulnerable are cared for.

"The victims we represent believe that, had such a law been in place when Savile was alive, the silence he shrouded himself in which allowed his abuse to go undiscovered for so long would have been broken.

"It is frankly shocking that people in authority who become aware of abuse are still not committing a crime if they decide to cover it up."

An ITV programme shown in October 2012, after Savile's death, ultimately led to a joint review into claims that Savile abused women, girls and boys.

The findings saw 214 criminal offences, including 34 rapes, recorded against Savile's name across the UK between 1955 and 2009 and later led to the settling up of a national investigation known as Operation Yewtree to investigate abuse claims.

Detectives have separated the investigation into three strands - allegations involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others.

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