Jimmy Savile sexual abuse claims highlight individual and institutional failings

Posted on October 31st, 2012

More and more disclosures from woman allegedly sexually abused as children or young people by Jimmy Savile are being revealed daily and we are all asking how this occurred on what appears such a large scale.  If the claims are confirmed then Mr Savile systematically abused children under the noses of the establishment including the Royal family and Mrs Thatcher. One would assume that access to these high powered individuals would have led to security checks of the highest level to ensure that Mr Savile was not a risk to national or personal security. These checks were either inadequate or information received was brushed under the carpet.

Mr Savile was allegedly given the keys of Broadmoor Secure Hospital and headed a task force into the running of the hospital by a Government minister.  Ms Edwina Curry believes it was appropriate to engage Mr Savile, a radio and television presenter, with the task of overseeing a review of a Secure Hospital.  Again one assumes a number of security checks were made and they did not discover that Mr Savile had been questioned by several Police forces about alleged sexual assaults on young woman in various parts of the country.  No alarm bells rang and vulnerable patients were allegedly exposed to inappropriate acts. Potentially acts that the patients’ themselves had committed at one time and were deemed too great a risk to society so needed a secure environment away from the general public.

This was not the only establishment that Mr Savile influenced through his ‘understanding’ and ‘fundraising’ ability. Mr Savile is accused of sexually abusing children in schools, children’s homes and Stoke Manville Hospital. Where was Mr Savile’s supervision? Are we really meant to believe that at the time there was no whistle-blowing from staff or disclosures from children about Mr Savile’s proclivity for those more vulnerable?  Given he had access to such a large number of adults and children it seems unlikely that no concerns were raised. The question is how were the concerns tackled by those in charge?

There is an investigation into the actions of Mr Savile and the general culture of these institutions – mainly the BBC with whom he was a contracted employee. Once more is it unlikely that the people in positions of power know nothing of the allegations against Mr Savile.  So we have to ask, “Did they simply decide to ignore the problem without attempting to safeguard children and young people from abuse or did they even consider these children and vulnerable people at all”?

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