The NHS last week published reports into the abuse perpetrated at the hands of disgraced celebrity, Jimmy Saville, in 28 different NHS facilities, including Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor Hospital, between 1962 and 2009.
The investigation process has been overseen by a former practising barrister, Kate Lampard QC, and a separate report has been produced in respect of each facility. Reports from three further facilities are still awaited.
At Leeds General Infirmary, where Saville had worked as a volunteer porter in the 1960s and 1970s, 64 male and female victims aged from 5 to 75 years old were abused. The abuse ranged from lewd comments to three allegations of rape.
Allegations of rings made from glass eyes taken from bodies in the mortuary and of performing sexual acts on corpses have also been made. Obviously these allegations cannot be substantiated but Savile had a well-known fascination with the dead and this, coupled with “lax” mortuary procedures around this time and his close friendship with the chief mortician which allowed him to gain unsupervised access to the mortuary, will be considered by many as compelling reasons to believe the allegations. The report concluded that: “In light of the claims about the glass eye jewellery and Savile’s interference with the bodies of the deceased, it is evident his interest in the mortuary was not within accepted boundaries.”
Further abuse took place at the infamous high-security psychiatric unit, Broadmoor, where Savile became involved in patient entertainment in the late 1960s. Within a few years he had hospital accommodation and keys to even the most secure areas. By 1988, he had been appointed the head of a task force overseeing Broadmoor.
There are reports of Savile making inappropriate remarks as he watched female patients undress and bathe and 11 allegations of sexual assaults. Investigators are confident that 5 or 6 of these assaults took place and have been unable to interview the remaining victims. The report describes Savile as “narcissistic, arrogant and lacking in any empathy” and attributed the lower number of assaults reported here as likely to be due to staff being discouraged to report incidents, patients wanting to forget about their time there. The report also noted a culture of inappropriate sexual relationships between staff and patients.
Savile’s victims were male and female, old and young, patients and staff. He was an opportunistic predator who abused his victims in a seemingly indiscriminate manner. There is, however, one striking similarity – none of those who reported the abuse were believed.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said yesterday: “At the time the victims who spoke up were not believed and it’s important today that we all publicly recognise the truth of what they have said… in reality he was a sickening and prolific sexual abuser who repeatedly exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes.”
The effects of abuse are often devastating and life long. They interfere with every aspect of a person’s life and often mean they will not lead the life they would have led had they not been abused.
For more information about pursuing a compensation claim for abuse, please contact us. our team of abuse compensation lawyers have helped hundreds of victims to pursue claims – either against the abuser or against a third party organisation, such as the local authority, who perhaps failed to prevent or stop the abuse. The majority of the time, claims are pursued without any cost to you. Please get in touch to find out more.