UK & World News

  • 2 June 2014, 9:28

'Savile's 500 Victims Were As Young As Two'

Jimmy Savile abused at least 500 people as young at two years old, according to an NSPCC study.

The figures emerged as a lawyer for many of his victims told Sky News a similar scandal could occur today unless a law of mandatory reporting is introduced compelling those who know about abuse to tell the authorities.

The NSPCC study, commissioned for BBC Panorama, exposes confidential documents that show the extent of Savile's offending at hospitals.

Liz Dux, who represents 170 of the victims, told Sky News: "This report looks at those in authority who knew, who were effectively complicit in what Savile was up to, who knew and allowed him to continue for the sake of their organisation because he was raising money or giving their organisation kudos or because of his celebrity status.

"If he had been stopped earlier so many ruined lives could have been saved.

"What is so disgraceful is that these people who knew and allowed him to continue can't be brought to task.

"At the moment we don't have any kind of law of mandatory reporting and that's what we want to change ? so that never again can people put their own organisation before the safety and welfare of children.

"Until we have a change in the law I'm afraid this kind of dreadful scandal could happen again.

"It is dangerous to say this is something that happened in the 1970s and couldn't happen now.

"I'm still seeing examples of abuse in schools where head teachers have been told of abuse and have failed to take action because they're worried about the reputation of their establishment."

The NSPCC uncovered Savile's unprecedented access to Broadmoor hospital, where some of his abuse took place.

The most common age group for Savile's victims was 13 to 15 - but the youngest alleged victim was just two years old.

Peter Watt, the NSPCC's director of child protection, said: "There's no doubt that Savile is one of the most, if not the most, prolific sex offender that we at the NSPCC have ever come across."

One of Savile's victims, Sylvia Edwards, told Sky News those who knew about his behaviour should face justice.

"He's destroyed a lot of lives and in a way we've all allowed it because we've let it go on for so long without saying anything," she said.

"The people who allowed it should all be held accountable."

Reviews into how Savile was allowed to abuse so many people at the BBC and in 33 hospitals will be published this year.

Advertisement