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Savile and Bullfinch creates a surge in rape crisis cases
A RAPE crisis centre says it has a three-month waiting list to help abused women after the Jimmy Savile scandal led to a rise in calls.
The number of women seeking support from Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre has rocketed by 18 per cent in the year after investigations revealed the TV host and DJ had abused children over many years.
Officials say the Bullfinch trial over child abuse and exploitation in Oxford may also have played a part in more victims coming forward to seek help.
The centre, part of the national Rape Crisis charity, received 1,245 calls and e-mails about sexual abuse and sexual violence from girls and women in Oxfordshire between September last year and this August – an increase of 190 on the same period the year before.
For the first time since it started two and a half years ago, it also has a waiting list of three months for its support group because of an increase in the number of women seeking support.
The ITV documentary revealing the late Jimmy Savile’s prolific rape and sexual abuse was broadcast in October last year.
Natalie Brook, service manager at the Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre, told the Oxford Mail: “As the Savile story continues to get coverage and the issue of sexual violence is discussed more openly in the public sphere, we would imagine that we would continue to see an increase.
“We also anticipate small increases year on year as our profile grows in Oxfordshire and more women and girls know about our services.”
The increase is larger than the 13 per cent increase between 2010 and 2011, from 924 calls or e-mails to 1,052 in 2011-12.
She said: “What we know is that cases like the Savile case do raise awareness of sexual violence.
“A lot of people don’t want to disclose sexual abuse for a long time. “They fear the repercussions or the reaction from family and friends.
“This gives them the confidence to do something.”
SEVEN members of an Oxford grooming ring were jailed for a total of 95 years in June after an 18-week trial at the Old Bailey in London.
Between 2004 and 2012 in Oxford, the gang groomed, raped and prostituted girls as young as 11.
On the Bullfinch trial, Ms Brooks said: “It has possibly had an impact on people coming forward, yes.
“It’s always really hard to pin it down to one thing or another.
“It’s not surprising that a local case about sexual violence would cause people to want to seek more help.”
The average call length to the charity has also increased, from 12 minutes in 2010-11 to 14 minutes in 2011-12 and 19 minutes in the past 12 months.
Ms Brook added: “We have also seen our average call length increase by 35 per cent, suggesting that when people do call us, they are looking for a greater amount of support.”
Nationally, the National Rape Crisis Helpline has received 78,000 calls since the Savile TV documentary was broadcast, compared with 55,000 during the previous 12 months.
- Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre’s helpline is 01865 726295 or call freephone 0800 783 6294. Those needing support can also email email@example.com or visit oxfordrapecrisis.net