Published on: 24 February 2014

Publication types: Child protection

NSPCC report ‘Would they actually have believed me?’

A focus group exploration of the underreporting of crimes by Jimmy Savile

In March 2013, HMIC published, ‘Mistakes were made’ our review into the allegations and intelligence material concerned Jimmy Savile between 1964 and 2012. In this report we acknowledged “serious concerns about the number of victims who felt unable to come forward at the time the assaults were committed to report Savile to the police.” In order to understand why this was the case, HMIC commissioned the NSPCC to undertake research with a group of victims. The aim of this was to identify common themes that prevented those victims from reporting to Police at the time of the abuse, and to explore how police can improve their management of the reporting process and subsequent interviews and contacts.

It was agreed that the NSPCC would conduct five focus groups, with a maximum of ten participants in each group. Groups would be arranged at a number of locations to minimise the distances that participants needed to travel. On 24 February 2014, NSPCC published a report ‘Would thy actually have believed me?’, which detailed the outcome of these focus groups.

In response to this report, Her Majesty’s Inspector Drusilla Sharpling said:

“I am deeply grateful to the victims who contributed to this powerful and moving report. It vividly portrays the pain and anguish suffered by Savile’s victims, which was often made worse by the way they were treated. Despite the difficulties they have faced, victims have highlighted important ways in which police responses can be improved. We owe it to them to make sure that the police service responds positively and ensures victims are supported, listened to and treated with compassion.

“In our report ‘Mistakes were made’, we made it clear that action must be taken to create a positive environment in which victims feel at ease in coming forward and reporting what has happened to them to the police.

“The NSPCC report adds weight to this recommendation and makes our follow up inspection activity on this area of policing even more relevant.”

The NSPCC report ‘Would they actually have believed me?’ can be found on the NSPCC website

HMIC will use this research to inform our future inspections on the subject of child abuse and protection