Suffolk: ‘Savile effect’ sees historic sex abuse allegations double in the county

Jimmy Savile. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Jimmy Savile. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Allegations of historic sex abuse in Suffolk have doubled in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal, police have said.

According to Suffolk Constabulary officers received 53 complaints in the seven months before the ITV Exposure documentary ‘The Other Side of Jimmy Savile’ was aired on October 3 last year.

In the seven months following the programme, the number of reports of sex abuse dating back more than a year rose to 109.

Nationally research from 34 police forces has shown a 9.2% year-on-year rise in all recorded sex offences from October 1, 2012, compared to the same six-month period the year before.

However, that is not reflected in Suffolk, which had a 5% decrease from 383 cases to 365, despite a rise in historic complaints.

The overall increase is being attributed to what has been called the “Savile effect”.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Sedgwick, of Suffolk Constabulary, said: “The increase in reports of historic sexual abuse in Suffolk should be seen as a positive.

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“Victims of these offences are now more willing and confident in coming forward and report the abuse, knowing police and the wider criminal justice system take these matters very seriously and their case will be handled sensitively.

“Suffolk Constabulary has dedicated teams of investigators experienced in dealing with the sensitive and distressing nature of sex offences and specially trained to deal with victims.

“In recent weeks two new posts have been filled in our public protection unit to support the work being done by the team.

“While historic abuse investigation can be complex and have their own challenges we would assure people that we have the capability and necessary staff to deal with any allegations of historic sexual abuse and would encourage victims to come forward no matter how long it has been since the offence took place.”

Sue Raychaudri, project co-ordinator for Suffolk Rape Crisis said: “There has been a noticeable rise since all the reports in the media.”

Previously Suffolk Constabulary said it had received at least three allegations of people being abused by Savile following the programme being broadcast.

These have been passed on to the Metropolitan Police which is heading up an operation, codenamed Yewtree, into his widespread sex abuse.

Savile died aged 84 in 2011.

One Suffolk man who contacted police to say he was abused by Savile said: “I would urge anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse to contact the police.

“I didn’t for years because I was scared that I wouldn’t be believed. But as soon as I mustered the courage to call officers at Operation Yewtree, they were fantastic.

“They made a point of telling me they believed me.

“I am not surprised people have come forward.

“But, if people are worried about going to the police there are other people who can help.

“Survivors in Transition in Ipswich were kind, caring and understanding. For the first time in 30 years I was believed.

“They didn’t judge and they helped me. It was through seeing them that I gained the courage to call police.

“The Samaritans drop-in in Ipswich is also great.”