A charity founded by the late Jimmy Savile has called for an investigation into allegations of sex abuse by the former television presenter made in an ITV Exposure documentary last night, while mental health charity Mind has launched its own investigation.
The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust said on Tuesday (2 October) that it was concerned the allegations would harm the charity, which has raised around £40m since it was founded in 1984. But in the run-up to the airing of the documentary yesterday the charity released a new statement calling for an investigation into the allegations, and reiterated its call in a further statement this morning:
"The trustees are horrified by the suggestion that other people knew this ‘open secret’ or ‘turned a blind eye’ to criminal acts. The trustees reiterate their call that these serious allegations should be properly investigated, with full and complete evidence being obtained from all possible sources," they advised.
The 49-minute documentary shown on ITV last night showed a series of interviews with women who claimed to have been abused by Savile while under the age of consent, as well as interviews with male witnesses to such behaviour.
ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen is shown in the documentary in tears having watched the footage. She advised that before watching the footage she had decided not to take a view, as Savile, who died last year, is not here to defend himself. However after watching the footage and asked whether she doubted the accounts, she said "no". "I must say, that what these women say is so matter-of-fact, they corroborate each other, the style of the abuse and the attack on them is absolutely consistent with each other and I'm afraid, the jury isn't out anymore," she said.
Asked how this made her feel she said: "Very painful, very distressing. Because in a funny way we all colluded with this didn't we. We made him into the Jimmy Savile who was untouchable."
Mind investigation into school allegations
Mental health charity Mind, under its previous name of National Association for Mental Health, was implicated in the documentary through its involvement in the running of Duncroft School for "troubled" girls in Surrey where, it is alleged, Savile carried out acts of sexual abuse against its pupils. The charity advised it is undertaking its own inquiry and would cooperate fully with any official investigation:
"We are shocked and saddened by the allegations of abuse that are said to have taken place at Duncroft, in 1974. We are deeply concerned that this may have happened while the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH) was involved with the school.
"We take this situation very seriously and will cooperate in any way we are able to with the relevant authorities, in any investigation that follows this documentary. We are also carrying out our own investigation into these allegations," the charity said.