This is not just about Jimmy Savile and his posthumous reputation

First published 19th October 2011

I must say I have found it very difficult to understand those who call in on radio phone-ins to voice their displeasure at those who have come out and spoken of their abusive experiences in the Jimmy Savile scandal. The he's dead, leave him alone lobby seem to me to have completely missed the point.

This is not just about Jimmy Savile and his posthumous reputation, it is about those who have been the victims of the alleged abuse. Obviously, it is very difficult for his family to hear this and I have sympathy for them, but it must have been even more difficult to have been a child and be abused by him and live with that abuse.

I heard a lawyer yesterday state on the radio that he had no doubt, with the level of evidence offered by over forty women and one man, that this would ceratinly have led to a conviction in a court of law at the time.

It amazes me and frightens me that in these cases where large amounts of evidence from a variety of sources is offered, that people can be so insensitive to the victims.

Surely the protection of children and vulnerable adults must take primacy. These women and the man concerned deserve our sympathy, prayers and support. A proper investigation must happen, that the truth may emerge. These people will never find closure, but they ought to have access to justice.

Institutions (and I include the Church in this) should be immensely grateful when the victims of abuse have the courage to come forward and bring to light crimes against them. Scripture speaks of a vision of a new heaven and a new earth where all will one day be safe. The reality is that there are and there have been those who make our present communities places of danger and threat.

One thing is clear. When people find the courage to speak out there is a deterrent effect on those who want to abuse. We need to support them.

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