A lawyer for victims of Jimmy Savile said that the leaked Savile report suggests that sexual abuse at the BBC could happen again.
Specialist abuse lawyer Liz Dux says the report concludes that “the same culture which allowed Jimmy Savile to commit his appalling offences still persists today”.
The draft report by Dame Janet Smith, who chaired an independent inquiry into at Savile’s time at the BBC – and the corporation’s practices during that period – was leaked to news website Exaro. Dame Janet is said to be “disappointed” by Exaro’s decision to publish “a leaked copy of an early draft” and said she will work with the BBC “to arrange publication of its final Report as quickly as possible”.
The report is said to include damning criticisms of the BBC and its “untouchable” stars and “above the law” managers.
Ms Dux, who represents 168 of Savile’s victims – many of whom were assaulted at the BBC – has expressed concerns that the BBC’s “very deferential culture”, as described by the leaked report, could still be present today.
"It is deeply disturbing that this inquiry appears to have concluded the same culture which allowed Savile to commit his appalling offences with impunity still persists today.
"That little has been done at the BBC to prevent another predatory abuser using their celebrity and influence to target the young and vulnerable is of grave concern.”
Ms Dux said she found it “incredible” to believe that senior BBC staff were completely unaware of the abuse committed by Savile even though 107 people gave evidence to Dame Janet’s review saying that they heard rumours about Savile’s inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Leading abuse lawyers have called for the introduction of mandatory reporting legislation – making it a legal requirement for anyone working within institutions to report suspicions of child abuse to the police. This legislation needs to be introduced “now, more than ever” according to Ms Dux so that turning a blind eye to child sex abuse becomes a criminal offence.
Ms Dux also raised concerns at how the Savile report was “disturbingly leaked”, something which will cause much distress to the victims she represents. She said they will be very upset “that a report of this nature and sensitivity has been leaked in this way."