The Savile report: we need a proper overarching review

Today, Emily Thornberry and Yvette Cooper responded to the joint NSPCC and Metropolitan Police report into Jimmy Savile.

Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, said:

“It is very disappointing to learn that a prosecution could have been mounted against Jimmy Savile while he was still alive. This is a grave denial of justice to the victims. The institutional failings involved are staggering, which is why Labour has called for a single over-arching inquiry into issues raised in the Savile case and others of child abuse and exploitation - to make sure all the lessons of the past are learnt.

“I am appalled that as recently as 2009 Crown Prosecution Service lawyers were not treating credible accounts of sexual abuse with the seriousness they deserve. There needs to be cultural change in the organisation. The Director of Public Prosecutions has apologised to the victims and acknowledged the need for change. This is welcome. Now he must deliver on these good intentions.”

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, commenting on the joint NSPCC and Metropolitan Police report into Jimmy Savile, said:


“This is a shocking and disturbing report which shows the horrific scale of crimes and abuse committed by Savile across the country, leaving hundreds of victims suffering.

“But these reports are not enough, and this is not just a historic problem. We need to know how on earth he was able to get away with this for decades, because action is still needed today. A myriad of small reviews and inquiries into how it could happen in different hospitals or the BBC are just not enough. We need a proper overarching review led by child protection experts into why everyone failed to stop Savile and what should be done now.

“The most recent Savile offence was in 2009, and as the Director of Public Prosecutions has said “there are clear links to be drawn” between issues related to the Savile cases and the more recent Rochdale cases. Today's separate report into sexual offences shows many are not reported and far too few are ever prosecuted. Too often still today victims, often children or young women, are not taken seriously. No one can pretend this is still a historic problem and we need to learn the lessons to change our systems right now.

“There are many, many questions as to how Savile got away with this and what weaknesses still exist in the system to protect vulnerable victims. We can’t learn lessons properly with 14 separate inquiries and more working groups. We need a properly structured inquiry, that draws together fragmented investigations into institutions throughout the country. Although legislation has moved forward and great strides have been made in child protection, we all know that much more needs to be done. And the scale of Savile’s abuse should be a wake-up call to everyone.

“The Home Secretary should step in now, in the light of these reports and establish an overarching inquiry led by child protection experts to draw together the fragmented investigations so we can make sure vulnerable young people are listened to and better protected from these horrible crimes.”


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