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5 live Investigates: The increase in reports of historic sex abuse

Friday 4 October 2013, 17:35

David Lewis David Lewis Producer 5 live

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The outing of Jimmy Savile a year ago as a serial sex offender has changed the way society looks at sex abuse.

There’s a recognition that the problem is much bigger than many people ever imagined.

But if anything positive has emerged from the sordid antics of Savile, it is that it has given people the courage to speak out if they were victims of abuse.

Over the past year, the police service has seen a surge in the number of people reporting historic abuse as well as coming forward to complain about more recent abuse.

The 5 live Investigates team this week have set out to try and measure the impact this is having on police forces as they struggle to cope with a squeeze on budgets and staffing.

We looked at the number of child abuse allegations that were being made in the 6-month period after the transmission of the TV documentary that exposed Savile – they were up 25 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

But arrests are down 6 per cent. We wanted to know why.

The picture is complex but is due to police forces struggling to cope with the number of cases coming through – but might also reflect the difficulty in getting more historic cases to court.

Also, the team have been looking at the safety of helicopters that fly workers to and from the oil and gas rigs in the North Sea.

In the past four years, the UK sector of the North Sea has seen five incidents and 20 deaths – over the same period, the Norwegian sector has had no fatalities.

Both sectors use the same type of helicopter. We investigate what might be happening.

5 live Investigates Sunday 6th October 11am. Listen live or listen again here.

5 live Investigates page

Follow us on Twitter here.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I always thought that there was something not right about Saville as did many other people...but he has been convicted of nothing. He is not alive to defend himself so all we can go on are people's anecdotes of what they say he did or didn't do.

    I think that some people are after compensation... purely driven by money so these claims will be on going for some time. When it comes down to it, it is the word of one person's against the others and with no corroborating evidence, it will down to who can give the most convincing story.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.


    I understand your point of view that Saville is not within to answer the charges but on the other hand, those victims who have come forward to report his abuses have done the society some justice. It may appear rather too late for them but I cannot fathom that you associate their disclosure with monetary gains through litigations.

    Some of these victims are currently suffering from a variety of problems ranging from sleep disturbances, poor health status such as obesity and are destined to a lifelong struggle. However, some victims may as well be functioning well without any trauma bearing in mind their ordeal while others usually undergo robust psychological treatment programs to overcome their negative experiences. Moreover, others are known to suffer from mental health conditions such as eating disorders, depression and related risk-taking behaviours.

    Therefore, it is not all about compensation!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Fndiz....I said some people will be after compensation not all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    @ Zelda, It may be the case however, people who have been abused must demonstrate undeniable courage to come forward and share their stories. Just imagine how much of a burden is living with the pain of being abused? On the other hand, litigation is not a mere exercise such as a paper round, no, it is a robust and evidence based procedure.


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