Jimmy Savile enquiry leads to new campaign launch in Humberside
New figures about the number of calls from people worried about child sexual abuse have been revealed on the day a report into Jimmy Savile has been released by police.
A poll conducted last week by the NSPCC and YouGov shows that many people are waiting to act, with fewer than one in five (17 per cent) saying they would report concerns as soon as they arose.
These findings are supported by the NSPCC's own data that shows almost half of people who contact its helpline have waited over a month to get in touch, with some waiting much longer.
The charity is therefore concerned that people are still unsure how and when to act.
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Therefore the children's charity is today launching a six week TV campaign explaining how the public can report abuse whilst urging them: 'Don't wait until you're certain.'
Every year, the NSPCC helpline receives thousands of calls from people worried about child sexual abuse, and in Humberside last year (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012) 24 contacts were so serious, they had to be referred on to other agencies like social services or the police to keep the child safe.
Peter Watt, Director of the NSPCC's helpline, said: "Child sexual abuse is not a problem that died with Jimmy Savile. It is a problem that continues today, with children across the UK suffering at the hands of a minority of adults.
"Whilst the uplift in reports of abuse and new figures indicating that people are more willing to speak out is very welcome, it's also clear that people are still waiting for that elusive certainty before taking action. People clearly have the desire to act but are unsure how or when to do it.
"The truth is you will probably never be certain because of the hidden nature of abuse, especially sexual abuse. And the poll also shows that 59 per cent of people are not confident that they could spot the signs if a child they knew was being sexually abused.
"This is why we are taking our award winning 'Don't wait' film, directed by Amanda Boyle, to a wider audience as a television advert. Originally produced as an online viral the video will now be shown across the country to give people the information they need to report abuse."
Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said: "Jimmy Savile was allowed to abuse in part because people were not certain what they were seeing was abuse, and in part because the children themselves were not listened to or believed. It's vital that people listen to what children are saying, and that they report concerns immediately even if they are not certain.
"People are understandably concerned about being wrong or making things worse for the child if they say something, but all the time they spend procrastinating that child could be in real danger. To a child who is being abused every day the abuse is allowed to continue can feel like a lifetime. And it's important people understand that if they are wrong, a family will not be separated because of their mistake. Trained professionals will tactfully investigate before any action is taken. You can't be expected to know for certain and that's where the NSPCC can help."
Anyone who has concerns about a child or wants advice can contact the NSPCC for free 24 hours a day, by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing email@example.com, texting 88858 or using an online reporting form. They can choose to remain anonymous if they wish.