A charity which helps to prevent child sexual abuse has defended the BBC’s controversial Jimmy Savile drama The Reckoning.
The corporation’s new mini-series, which will focus on the presenter who was one of the UK’s most prolific sex offenders and paedophiles, has sparked fierce backlash since its announcement.
Many have branded the upcoming show ‘disgusting’ while asking why it’s necessary to shine a spotlight on the late criminal.
Deborah Denis, CEO of the Stop It Now! helpline, however, said that Savile’s scandal is paramount in emphasising the need to safeguard children.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘Stories like that of Jimmy Savile are important in reminding us how much we need to protect children, wherever they are.
‘Child sexual abuse is still too common in organisations and settings where young people should be protected, such as sports groups, community settings and faith communities – we need to do more here to make sure children are protected.’
She continued: ‘But we also need to help families recognise other risks. The majority of sexually abused children know their abuser, so ensuring that children are safe in the home and when they’re with relatives, friends and neighbours is vital.
‘Online and offline safety is just as important, and we all need to know how to prevent, spot, and respond to issues. The confidential Stop It Now! helpline can support anyone with worries about preventing child sexual abuse, and the Parents Protect website also has advice and information.’
The Reckoning will tell the story of how Savile rose to fame, and how the horrifying sexual abuse scandal – which had been kept under wraps throughout his life – unfolded after his death.
Controller of the BBC drama Pete Wenger said: ‘The story of Jimmy Savile is one of the most emotive and troubling of our times. We do not intend to sensationalise these crimes but to give voice to his victims.
‘We will work with survivors to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect and to examine the institutions which Jimmy Savile was associated with and the circumstances in which these crimes took place.
‘Drama has the ability to tackle sensitive real-life subjects and consider the impact of a crime on its survivors and what lessons can be learnt to stop this ever happening again.’
Savile died in 2011 and reports then surfaced that he had sexually abused hundreds of people throughout his life.
Anyone concerned about child sexual abuse prevention issues can contact the confidential and anonymous Stop It Now! helpline on 0808 1000 900 or visit stopitnow.org.uk.
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