The publication of the report of the Dame Janet Smith Jimmy Savile Report into the abuse committed by him at the BBC, 2 themes have dealt with many issues but the newspapers have highlighted 2 themes so far:-
- Tony Blackburn is sacked for an incident involving a girl who committed suicide shortly after disclosing the abuse to her mother in 1971
- Lawyers acting for Savile victims are calling for Mandatory Reporting Law change on the back of the anticipated report.
There have been reports by the media into the abuse such as incidents which took place in Leeds when Savile was interfering with a young girl on BBC premises when a junior member of staff walked in, caught him at it, reported it to a senior member of staff, whereupon no action was taken.
Savile was so famous and respected that there was a fear by those that discovered the abuse. If there were conscientious they may report what they had seen. It was more likely that they would say nothing because if they were not believed, the backlash could affect their employment.
There were examples of exactly the same lack of reporting at Stoke Mandeville Hospital whereby a junior member of staff was dismissed when she complained.
Tony Blackburn denies any responsibility for the abuse and claims he has been unfairly dismissed. “In a long statement the DJ insisted he was “not guilty of any inappropriate conduct” and said the report had made no suggestion he was guilty of any misconduct in relation to the teenager.
He is said to be instructing lawyers to sue the BBC.
Unfortunately Claire McAlpine, the girl in question, is no longer alive to give evidence. Blackburn denies that the inquest held after the incident or the report places any guilt on his shoulders.
Once again the veracity of allegations is being debated in the media rather than a Court of Law. Denials are obviously and rightly publicised but the victim has no voice. Those who have access to and are part of the media, obviously find it easier to speak, as it is their medium, not so the abusee.
As one listens to the media coverage, various interviewees such as Nina Myskow, are making comment on what they think of Tony Blackburn, who is undoubtedly a charming man, thus, not unnaturally illustrating bias. We have heard the same mistake being made in relation to other celebrities who have been accused of abuse.
Mandatory reporting is a system of imposing compulsory reporting upon individuals, the breach of which would amount to a criminal offence. It is the law in most civilized countries around the world but not England and Wales. Even Ireland has such a law. The government, despite committments in the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos to introduce such a law, remain against the idea, largely on monetary and “floodgates opening” grounds.
I have debated the issue many times in other blogs.
If you need advice in relation to any allegation of abuse please contact our team at the office.