Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal sees calls to Staffordshire helpline soar
AN ORGANISATION that supports victims of sexual abuse says it has been inundated with calls in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Staffordshire Women's Aid, which runs sexual violence service SURVIVE, reports that media coverage of the allegations against Savile has encouraged many victims of historical abuse to come forward.
Staff say demand for the service is at unprecedented levels and their 24-hour helpline has been constantly engaged.
Annette Atherton, support services manager at Staffordshire Women's Aid, said: "Some victims of childhood sexual abuse have reported abuse dating back to the early 1980s, some of which involves local institutions and professional members of society."
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She added: "Staffordshire Women's Aid has provided the SURVIVE service for two years now, but has received a significant increase in calls and referrals since the exposure of the Savile case, and in particular from vulnerable members of our local community."
SURVIVE, funded by the Big Lottery, provides one-to-one support for those suffering from the effects of experiencing sexual violence or assault, rape or attempted rape, childhood sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
Savile, who died a year ago, has been described as one of the UK's most prolific sex offenders. Police are investigating claims the DJ and TV presenter could have abused up to 300 victims.
Staffordshire Police said there has been a rise in reports to the force, and urged victims to contact them.
Detective Chief Inspector Helen Jones, of Staffordshire Police's Protecting Vulnerable People department, said: "We believe there has been a slight increase recently in the number of historical child sexual assault allegations reported to Staffordshire Police.
"However, it is unclear whether this increase can be attributed to the recent investigation involving Jimmy Savile, which is being led by the Metropolitan Police.
"Staffordshire Police treats all reports of sexual abuse against children or adults extremely seriously, no matter how long ago the offence happened, and we will carry out a thorough and sensitive investigation.
"We are determined to bring offenders to justice."