Society owes a "great debt" to the victims of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall, Dame Janet Smith said.
She thanked them for "your contribution and your courage" during the investigation.
"You are not to blame and your reasons for not reporting it are wholly understandable," said Dame Janet.
"Society owes you a great debt. Your legacy is that you have helped to convince us all of the importance of ensuring that young and vulnerable people have the confidence to report abuse, and when they do so their voices will be heard and treated with the same respect as those with power in our society.
"I think that is a legacy of which you can be justifiably proud."
BBC "talent" such as Jimmy Savile were more important to the corporation than its values, one witness told Dame Janet Smith during her investigation into abuse by the star.
Dame Janet said celebrities like Savile and Stuart Hall were "treated with kids gloves" and were "virtually untouchable".
She said the failure to properly investigate alleged abuse of young girls on Top of the Pops in the 1970s showed the BBC was more concerned about its reputation than the welfare of the youngsters.
"One witness told me that the talent were more valuable to the BBC than their own values," Dame Janet said.
Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall used their fame and position as BBC celebrities to abuse the vulnerable, Dame Janet Smith has said.
Dame Janet, who led the investigation into Savile's abuse, described him as "opportunistic and shameless".
"They must be condemned for their monstrous behaviour," she said following the publication of her report.
Dame Janet said she identified five occasions when the BBC "missed an opportunity to uncover their misconduct", saying the culture of the BBC allowed their behaviour to go "undetected for decades".
However, she denied the BBC had sought to influence the review, saying a delay following its completion in April 2015 was due to concerns raised by the Metropolitan Police that it might affect ongoing investigations.
"(Jimmy) Savile and Stuart Hall were serial sexual predators" and the BBC missed five opportunities to stop their misconduct, Dame Janet Smith said today.
The BBC Trust has issued an apology to the victims of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall following the publication of a damning report into the corporation's handling of their behaviour.
Rona Fairhead said the corporation "turned a blind eye" and had "failed" the victims.
"It turned a blind eye, where it should have shone a light.
"And it did not protect those who put their trust in it."
Watch the press conference held following the publication of Dame Janet Smith's review into the abuse of Jimmy Savile.
Serial child abusers and sexual offenders such as Jimmy Savile were allowed to operate within the BBC with impunity, a report has found.Read the full story ›
Tony Blackburn, who says he has been sacked by the BBC, has tweeted thanking his fans for their "overwhelming support".
I won’t be tweeting too much but I must say a big thanks for all the support from my fellow broadcasters, it is very kind of you.
Good morning,I just want to say thanks so much for your overwhelming support it means a lot to me. xxx
A report into Jimmy Savile and the culture and practices at the BBC while he worked there are due to be published today.Read the full story ›
Tony Blackburn claims he has been sacked by the BBC as the corporation prepares for a report into historical sex abuse at the corporation.Read the full story ›