Vital lessons to be learned from NHS Savile reports

27 Jun 2014

Responding to the publication yesterday (26th June 2014) of multiple reports investigating Jimmy Savile’s sexual abuse at NHS institutions, End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) Co-Director Liz McKean said:

“The scale and detail of Jimmy Savile’s sexual offending is disturbing but contains vital lessons for all those concerned to protect victims and to prevent abuse today.

“The reports reveal that NHS systems and management created an open door for Savile, an opportunistic sexual offender. He chose places and victims confident that he would not be challenged, and that victims who dared report would not be believed. 

“Savile’s intention, method and targeting with impunity are cause for real concern, not least because there are cases right up until 2009. Earlier this month a senior Metropolitan Police advisor, who has reviewed years of police rape investigations, said that the rape of women and girls with vulnerabilities, such as learning disabilities or mental health problems, is still today effectively decriminalised (1). Offenders know this. 

“The level of access to vulnerable people that Savile enjoyed, together with the way in which victims’ claims were dismissed, is shocking. Institutions like hospitals should have in place robust strategies to prevent and respond better to violence against women and girls. 

“Jeremy Hunt’s apology to victims is welcome but it is still the case that many survivors of sexual abuse don’t report what they have suffered, including for fear of not being believed. What is needed is proper funding for specialist services like rape crisis centres, which are crucial in supporting victims, and on-going top level political leadership on the prevention of sexual abuse if we are ever to eliminate the idea that it is inevitable.”

Rape Crisis England & Wales is a member of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW). 

1. Betsy Stanko quoted in BIJ interview.

Find all the reports of the Jimmy Savile NHS investigations published on 26th June 2014 at the Department of Health (DH) website here

The DH statement is here.

You can watch the Secretary of State’s statement here.