So the first part of the Jimmy Savile report is out after 3 months of investigation. On reading the summary of the report on the BBC website I was struck by a number of things.
First, has it only been three months since the star that every child of my generation wanted to meet, was alleged to have abused children? I don’t know about anyone else but it seems like it’s been a lot longer since the news broke, it’s hard now to remember a time when the name Jimmy Savile didn’t conjure up feelings of disgust.
The second thing that struck me was that this was a joint report from the police and the NSPCC. Now did I miss something? When did the NSPCC, a charity, start investigating crimes alongside the police? I thought that they were a charitable organisation, not a statutory agency? Where have these powers to investigate come from?
The third and last thing that struck me about the report is that I actually don’t think it’s going to change anything. Now this may sound like a really defeatist thought to have, but I really don’t see how this report is going to change anything – except maybe to make us a bit more suspicious of strange old men. Children are not suddenly going to be listened to and believed because we know that Savile was a prolific offender.
So what is this report actually going to achieve? Well I do think that it has been useful in raising awareness of some of the issues around child abuse such as the lack of belief that children who speak up face. I also think it has been useful in showing that even trusted celebrities are capable of awful things, and that abusers manoeuvre themselves into positions of trust.
Beyond that I think the only real achievement of this report has been to give some closure to the survivors of abuse at the hands of Savile.
What impact do you think the Savile report will have?