The long awaited report on the background, effects and consequences of Jimmy Savile's horrendous actions was released by the Crown Prosecution Service today. It carried no surprises after the sensational media exposure in 2012 of his abuse of young girls and boys. But seeing it in coherent form and, in stark descriptions of his one man cavalier treatment of the young from the 1950s to 2009, made gruesome reading.
In a nutshell, according to the BBC, these are the key findings which put the trail of abuse in perspective.
- The earliest allegation against Savile dated from 1955 in Manchester and the last was as recent as 2009 (when he was 81). It meant that his campaign of systematic abuse of youngsters who trusted him lasted over six long decades!
- Peak offending took place between 1966 and 1976. that was the period of the greatest social changes in the '60s and 70s.
- His youngest victim was an eight-year-old boy, and the oldest was 47 years old.
- Savile offended at 13 hospitals, including Great Ormond Street in London, and one offence was recorded at Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds in 1977. Another 16 offences were also committed at Leeds General Infirmary between over 30 years until 1995, and 22 offences at Stoke Mandeville Hospital between 1965-88.
- Offences were carried out at the BBC between 1965 and 2006 (41 years) - including at the last Top of the Pops music recording.
- Most of those abused were aged 13 to 16.
- Some 73% of victims were under 18.
Offences were even committed at Broadmoor high-security psychiatric prison, High Royds Psychiatric Hospital, and Saxondale Mental Health. It seems no place was spared: from the sick, to the mentally ill, to the dying, he helped himself where he could. Savile was regarded as 'opportunistic' rather than calculating in his abuse, in that his actions seemed unplanned. Wherever he saw the opportunity to take advantage of a youngster, he did. And the advantages were many because of the hero worship of him by many of the nation's teens, and the good work he was doing raising tons of money for medical institutions. In fact, his raising money seems to have negated the need for close monitoring of him by grateful recipients, which might explain why he got away with it for so long.
But the real reason for his long decades of abuse has primarily to do with his powerful position at the time. Jimmy Savile had unparalleled power and influential connections which earned him the greatest reputation in the end, and knighthoods from both the Queen and the Pope. In short, he was untouchable. One would not have associated that kind of behaviour with such a public figure who seems to have it all. Couple that with the different ethos and culture that surrounded women at the time (they were far more vulnerable and prone to be taken advantage of, both in the home and outside of it), and it was easy for Jimmy Savile to carry on his abuse over the decades with impunity. Who would believe his victims against such a public figure who had raised over £40 million pounds for various institutions? Let's say no one would want to believe it perhaps for fear of stopping the cash cow.
That was what happened even when complaints were made to three police stations. Nothing was done, for a variety of reasons. Witnesses were not deemed to be reliable and no one wanted to rock the boat. The report was also accompanied by talks of lessons being learnt and a fulsome apology from the CPS. But it is all so little so late for those victims whose young lives were blighted by a predatory man who really cared very little for youngsters he was raising money for. Having access to them to take advantage of their vulnerability and trust appeared to have been his greater motive. The police described the report of his actions as a "compelling picture of widespread sexual abuse by a predatory sex offender".
At least the only thing that can be said in favour of the report is that it has given the victims a voice, and perhaps closure for many who have had to live with the pain of their awful experience over the years, unable to tell anyone. In that respect, the investigation and fact finding was worth it.
The Independent: Savile: The full shocking truth revealed in official report