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Jimmy Savile scandal sparks wave of allegations about historic sex abuse
THE number of victims coming forward to report allegations of historic sexual abuse in St Helens has doubled in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the Star can reveal.
Intense media coverage about the unmasking of the former BBC presenter as a monstrous paedophile is believed to have influenced a surge in reports about crimes locally.
None of the allegations in St Helens are connected to the Savile investigation, but an abuse support group believe the case has caused more victims to re-examine unreported traumas inflicted by other sexual predators.
The allegations have come from both men and women, with some reporting abuse that happened half a century ago.
Cath Cash-Harvey, from the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in St Helens, told the Star: “From October 1 there have been around 20 victims who have come forward. Normally we would have ten.
“The Savile news has made a big difference. People can be watching it or picking up a newspaper and say ‘I was abused by someone and I’ve never told anyone about it’.
“Some feel that they should have reported it before.
“Others even feel guilty and say ‘I wouldn’t know where to begin about speaking to someone’. But they can come to us and go straight to counselling.
“The people we have seen have been predominantly older people, in cases we would call historic.
“It is because victims are now being believed. A lot of issues about historic abuse is that people don’t talk about it because they fear they won’t be believed.
(But) this has opened the door for them to come forward. Because of the high profile, people are now saying ‘we do believe you’.”
Cath’s colleague Jo Bowden, a counsellor, said: “You don’t have to report it to the police to access our service. The only time we would, is if there was a present danger to a child.”
If you need help and advice, contact the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre on 01744 877987 or visit rapecentre.org.uk