This week Michael Gove, the education secretary, took the bold step of announcing to Parliament investigations into historic child sex abuse by Jimmy Savile at local authority, Roman Catholic and charity children’s homes and schools.
His decision is to be commended and the full Parliamentary statement can be seen here. It names council homes in Bournemouth, Devon, Gloucestershire, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham.Nottinghamshire, Surrey and the London boroughs of Hounslow, Islington, Southwark and Tower Hamlets. It also names Barnados in Redbridge; the Henshaw school for the Blind in Leeds and the Notre Dame Grammar School in Leeds and Sevenoaks School in Kent.
The Savile scandal has been one of the worst child abuse scandals to come out affecting not only schools but the BBC and even Broadmoor Hospital. It also extended outside England to Jersey.
I hope that all the authorities do a thorough review and uncover every fact possible – even though it dates back to the 1960s,70s and 80s. It will also mean tracing the children who had been there. I hope also the authorities know that if they do approach people they must be given proper and adequate support – something that has been noticeably lacking in current historic paedophile inquiries I have been covering.
Nothing must be hidden. It is scandal in the unrelated historic paedophile inquiry in the London borough of Richmond ( which did not involve Savile) that it has taken over 40 years for anybody to be brought to court to answer such crimes. It should also look at whether Savile had any accomplices that allowed such things to happen. The time for cover up is over.