It is quite shocking that, as each day passes, yet another victim surfaces. Often paedophiles like a certain age and sex of victim. It seems that Savile's sexual appetite was varied and inexhaustible. At first we were led to believe that his victims were young girls, the younger the better. Now we discover that he was into all types of vulnerable victims, boys, girls, the mentally disabled, the ill and hospitalised, the physically handicapped - just the aged left I suppose.
Peter Saunders, whom I first met many years ago, and leads NAPAC (National Association of People Abused in Childhood) was on the Radio 4 Today programme, in order to complain that the story was more about the media having a pop at itself because of the disgraceful way in which the BBC shelved a programme to boost ratings for a tribute to a paedophile DJ, than being concerned for the horrendous psychological damage done to victims who blame themselves for remaining silent for so many years.
Peter and other survivor groups have been absolutely inundated with a huge rise in calls from people, not only Savile victims. wanting help because they have been abused in childhood. The point is that this is no normal abuse investigation. It involves all areas of public bodies: the BBC, Leeds General Infirmary, Stove Mandeville Hospital, Broadmoor, Haute Garenne Children's Home in Jersey, Duncliffe School for Girls. Now we hear that there may have been a paedophile ring at the BBC with various flunkies finding young girls for Savile.
The media advise me that this story will run and run. How will it develop one wonders? I predict that, sooner or later, the story will turn into "How do we know that all these women are telling the truth? After all Savile is dead isn't he?" I have had such comments from friends who have been following the news. Then we will have the usual debate about whether taking advantage of a girl, who is nearly 16, in an age of sexual liberation, was really worthy of being called paedophilia.
Honourable though most of the media are, they are all in competition with each other, to find new stories, or "news" rather than "not new news". So for a big story like this, new angles are being sought all the time. Having experienced the way the media works for over 20 years, I can see that the competition for new stories may take second place to the sensitivities and needs of the victims.
What do I think should happen? Well, this is a bit left field but:-
- Give the support groups extra funds to help cope with the rise in abuse enquiries
- Organise a form of no fault compensation system, which includes payment of legal fees, similar to the Coal Dust compensation scheme, and the Irish Redress Scheme. The point is that the victims are so badly scarred that they need help to make their claims. The cries of "you can do it yourself love with a bit of help from volunteers" is unrealistic. The victims do not want years of contested civil court claims, though a recognition by the guilty corporations that they slipped up is a better recognition of some form of justice.
- Cancel the internal allegedly independent BBC enquires, and announce a proper transparent public enquiry into all Savile's abuse rather than several separate enquiries into the various abuse location.
One final thought...we must not get confused about the age at which girls can be abused. It matters not how old they are. If they were assaulted without their consent, they can be 9 or 90. It makes no difference; think on.....