A report prepared by Dame Janet Smith has finally been published. The report criticises the BBC’s handling of complaints against Savile and suggests that the BBC had a culture against complaints.
The report is the result of an independent inquiry which began in October 2012. Dame Janet Smith, a former High Court Judge, was assigned with the vast and far-reaching task of leading an inquiry into the numerous allegations of abuse by Jimmy Savile. The report resulting from this inquiry, of which a draft was leaked in January 2016, was finally made public on 25 February 2016.
The report found that Savile carried out a number of his offences while he was employed by the BBC and in “virtually every one of the BBC premises at which he worked” including studios and public areas such as corridors and canteens, as well as Savile’s own caravans and flats. It found that there were “serious failings” at the BBC which to some extent allowed the abuse to continue and resulted in a “macho culture” and “atmosphere of fear” at the BBC.
Dame Smith found that Savile “used his celebrity status, his entrée to the BBC and his connections with other stars as bait with which to draw young girls into his sphere.” Nonetheless, her finding with regards to the BBC was that there was no evidence available to suggest that the BBC was aware of Savile’s abuse and as such, the BBC could not be convicted of an offence.
Dame Smith recommended the BBC should complete another review and management audit, in order to use past experiences and ensure that their practices and policies are not resultant in such abuse in the future. She found that “the BBC should leave members of the talent in no doubt as to the standards of the behaviour expected of them.”
Whilst it is hoped that such culture is no longer rife at the BBC, it is a common opinion that Dame Smith’s report should have gone further than merely pointing to another review. It is however, still encouraging to see that not even Savile can hide from his crimes, and despite the time that has passed, the truth of his abuse has come out.
Jordans Solicitors act for victims of historic abuse in order to bring relevant parties to justice and obtain compensation for the survivors of such abuse. We fully support any inquiries and investigations into abuse, no matter how long ago it occurred, to ensure that the truth comes out and justice is achieved.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by historic abuse and would like further information or advice regarding seeking justice, please contact our specialist team of child abuse lawyers on 0800 9555 094.