I was approached by The Sun newspaper at the weekend to comment on the rising number of allegations being made against Jimmy Savile and the potential compensation claims that could be made against the BBC and other organisations that failed to act on complaints received about the former presenter. As more and more information comes to light about the circumstances surrounding the alleged abuse, along with the rapidly growing number of victims, my comment that ‘you could be looking at a potential cost of millions’, is looking increasing likely.
The revelations about Savile are somewhat surprising; especially considering that someone who was as famous as Savile in his heyday, and yet seems to have been so prolific in his abuse of children; has not been revealed as a paedophile previously.
However, as a solicitor heading a department specialising in abuse compensation claims, the circumstances surrounding the Savile case are unfortunately all too familiar; there are many parallels between the abuse Savile is accused of and the many other hundreds of instances of child abuse occurring on a weekly basis.
As I have blogged about previously, it is a common theme in instances of child abuse that the abuser is someone in a position of trust and often authority. Certainly, Savile had a notoriety attached to his name and as a result, was in a privileged position in society. As a well-known media personality, and especially one who ‘fixed it’ for people to fulfil their dreams and involved himself heavily in charity work, Savile would have inevitably been innately trusted by children and young adults alike. Disturbingly, there is a suggestion that Savile’s extensive charity work, including the voluntary positions he undertook in children’s hospitals etc, were simply a vehicle for him to commit paedophilic acts against children.
One of the other similarities than can be drawn is the vulnerable nature of the victims of the abuse. You don’t have to go back very far in history to see vulnerable children falling victims to abuse – the girls abused in the Rochdale paedophile ring, a case which saw nine men jailed earlier this year, were vulnerable members of socity – many being known to social services and some within their care. Appallingly, Savile appears to have preyed upon, amongst many other victims, children in hospitals and those suffering from brain damage – the most vulnerable of victims imaginable.
Another of the major parallels between the Savile abuse and the many cases of abuse we deal with is that those in a position to investigate or intervene in the abuse have failed to act. The BBC is at the heart of those facing such allegations as it has unfolded that the corporation received a number of complaints about Savile’s behaviour, but failed to investigate. There is also a strong case that Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Leeds, where Savile volunteered as a porter, also failed in their duty of care to patients. As a result, the hospital could face compensation claims amounting to tens of thousands of pounds.
Myself and my team of abuse compensation lawyers have successfully represented many victims of child and sexual abuse, winning damages often amounting to tens of thousands of pounds. For some examples of settlements we have achieved for clients, please click here.
If you would like to discuss a potential abuse claim free of charge with a member of our understanding and considerate team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.