Call for hotline serving grown-up victims of child abuse

Call follows wave of victims coming forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal

In the age of Childline and anti-abuse campaigns specifically aimed at schoolchildren, the need for services specially tailored for the needs of the youngest in society is well understood.

Yet the wave of adults now beginning to re-open long supressed memories of sexual exploitation from decades before has led charities and lawyers to advocate a dedicated 24-hour national hotline to support fully-grown victims deal with their own issues.

The move, backed the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, the NSPCC and abuse victim lawyers, should help prosecute paedophiles in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and the uncovering of other historic child abuse cases.

It follows the belief that, despite more victims approaching charities, many are still not reporting crimes to police because of the difficulties in raking over memories they would rather forget - leaving perpetrators like Savile free to attack others for years, sometimes decades.

One victim of abuse in London in the 1980s said he felt “isolated and helpless” after police investigating historic abuse knocked on his door earlier this year and that other victims felt the same.

“People are not just coming forward to report abuse, they are then not seeing it through because there is no support,” he said. “When they are visited by the police they realise they are left high and dry and there is nothing for them.”

Pete Saunders, chief executive of NAPAC, said: “The lack of support is absolutely stopping people coming forward. Why would they? These people are not now kids, they are savvy adults. They know what is out there and they know they are on their own. A dedicated helpline would be one way to address that.”

He added that as well as counselling or therapeutic support victims had to be offered on-going support.

He said: “We have to be talking about what the NHS can do for people. What politicians and police have got to understand, is what they are doing is almost potentially ruining peoples’ lives if they don’t get the support they need. The consequence for a lot of people – there will be broken relationships.”

NAPAC’s hotline – which is manned mainly by volunteers on a part-time basis - received 1,000 calls a week, up from 300, in the two months after the Savile story broke. Its workers can answer about 140 calls a week, but even today the charity receive about 500 calls weekly.

The NSPCC run ChildLine has been successful for many years, and while there are sporadic groups and agencies offering advice there is growing consensus of the need for a national focus.

How a new helpline will be organised and funded is yet to be discussed, but it has been suggested it could be manned by trained staff and act as a one-shop stop for adults - covering those who wanted to speak to someone about abuse they have suffered and for those who fear they are in a position where they themselves might abuse.

It could cost between £300,000 and £500,000 to run, it has been estimated – the NSPCC’s ChildLine, which last year made 27,000 referrals to authorities, costs £4m.

John Cameron, head of child protection at NSPCC, said there needed to be an environment where adult victims and those who thought they might be in danger of abusing others could come forward.

“There should be a national helpline for adults. Some of these adults who are victims have childcare responsibilities, and they struggle,” he said. “Some over-compensate by being over protective and others internalise their anger because they can’t get to the perpetrator, and hurt people around them.

“Also there are adults who contact us who are worried they might abuse someone in the future. They are getting aggressive easily or are having sexual thoughts. They too need anonymity and someone to speak too.”

Solicitor Liz Dux, who is representing 60 Jimmy Savile victims said: “People have come to us and we are the first people they have spoken to about it [abuse]”.

“I definitely think there needs to be something. One of the Jimmy Savile clients has said “I can’t deal with this’. What I want to say is here is the help. At the moment the spotlight is all focused on the criminal system . . .we also need to help victims.”

Case study: one victim of abuse in London in the 1980s

“I received a knock on the door from police this year which brought back the nightmare of abuse I suffered. My overwhelming response was of isolation and helplessness. It is the feeling that this [the process] is completely out of your control.

“After police interviewed me they gave me a leaflet on who I should call. It took me two weeks for me to contact an agency for help. They referred me somewhere else and it took me 10 days to ring those people.

“In all it has taken me four months to get any meaningful help and I had my first counselling session last week. The helpline has to provide help and support on an on-going basis.

“People are not just coming forward to report abuse, they are then not seeing it through because there is no support. When they are visited by the police they realise they are left high and dry and there is nothing for them.”

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 3 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

Year 3 Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Junior Software Developer - Newcastle, Tyne & Wear - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer / J...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering