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Charity calls for BBC fund to cope with demand after Savile scandal

Jimmy Savile. Image credit: Liftarn
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Charity calls for BBC fund to cope with demand after Savile scandal

Finance | Niki May Young | 5 Nov 2012

Sexual abuse counselling charity Family Matters has called upon the BBC to provide an open fund for charities coping with an increase in demand following the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.

Family Matters wrote the letter to the BBC over a week ago calling for "immediate funding" that can be accessed by any charity coping with an increase in demand as a result of the publicity circling rape and child abuse allegations against the late TV presenter.

 "An open fund for all organisations across the UK to access would enable victims of sexual abuse both directly and indirectly affected by the Jimmy Savile issue are able to be offered support and therapy as soon as possible," reads the letter.

"This is a vital request for as you will have seen, many of these victims have had to live with this abuse for decades until recent revelations have come to the forefront and without proper funding, they will be left without the proper support and therapy being offered to them," it continues.

Family Matters' operations director, Malcolm Gilbert, told civilsociety.co.uk there has so far been no response, and he fears the request will likely be brushed off:

"We're expecting a sort of formal 'thanks for coming' letter in the fullness of time, but we've had no formal response at this time," he said.

Gilbert said Family Matters has so far had to take on an additional three helpline volunteers (doubling its helpline staff) after a 25 per cent increase in calls.

"We have had one or two connected to the Jimmy Savile case but there have been a lot of other people contact us as well. Our helpline was in a pretty grim state, we were missing alot of the calls that were coming in so we've had to take on and train up some people and get them in pretty quickly to take that burden," he said, advising the publicity has stirred up a lot of traumatic feelings for victims of abuse. 

Charities like Family Matters have "been brought up a table that's been bare of fruit", said Gilbert. Family Matters also has 30 therapists, paid and volunteer, providing support to around 800 victims of abuse a year. Volunteer expenses cost the charity over £50,000 in 2010/11. 

But September saw an increase in therapy demand of around 18 per cent, and Gilbert fears that without greater support, some victims are falling through the net without support: "There has been a marked increase in enquiries about therapy, though we are aware we have missed a number due to lack of staffing," he advised.

The Jimmy Savile scandal, exposed in ITV's Exposure documentary in October, forced two charities associated with the disgraced Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops presenter to announce their closure last month. A number of investigations are underway into the now over 300 allegations of abuse from throughout four decades by Savile and a number of his associates. Many of the claims refer to abuse undertaken on BBC premises and while Savile was working for the broadcaster.   

 

 


 

 

 

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