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Victims 'told to feel lucky for Savile's attention'

Peter Watt, the NSPCC's director of national services, said:

The responses these victims received when they first revealed Savile's sickening crimes makes heart-rending reading.

They were ignored, dismissed, not believed, laughed at and, astonishingly, told in some cases they should feel lucky he had paid them attention.

Half a century on, the world finally discovered just how dreadful his crimes were - something these men and women had known all that time but felt powerless to do anything about.

The anger, frustration and sheer helplessness of the situation obviously damaged their lives in various ways.

But they showed true courage in coming forward once more to talk about their experiences and hopefully they can now start to put the terrible trauma behind them.

'Ignored' Savile victims left with 'devastating scars'

Savile pictured at the Tate Britain gallery in London in 2000. Credit: PA

According to the report, Would They Actually Have Believed Me?, some of the victims, who were aged between eight and 26 when Savile assaulted them, told hospital staff, who dismissed their claims.

One of the 26 victims interviewed by NSPCC counsellors went to the police but no action was taken. The vast majority were children when they were abused but four were adults.

The NSPCC said the research, which was commissioned by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, highlighted the "devastating scars" that victims had suffered from the abuse, with some turning to drink and drugs to cope.

Others have suffered mental illness, poor relationships or contemplated suicide, it said.

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NSPCC: 'We must keep one step ahead' on child abuse

The NSPCC has welcomed Google and Microsoft's decision to block images of child abuse via their search engines, but emphasised, "We must keep one step ahead."

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the children's charity, said:

Each image is a crime scene where unspeakable abuse was committed.

As sex offenders get ever more technologically advanced in pushing their vile trade, we must keep one step ahead and this requires a concerted and sustained effort from all quarters.

This is the key child protection issue of a generation - we cannot fail.

Sites 'can't turn a blind eye' to dangers to child users

The NSPCC is calling for social media sites to do more to make their online platforms safer for the millions of children who use them by bypassing the age restrictions. Claire Lilley, NSPCC's head of child safety, said the risks to 11 and 12-year-olds need to be evaluated by the companies.

There is a significant jump in the numbers of children who have a social networking profile at age 11 - which coincides with the move to secondary school for most UK children

We estimate that around half of the UK's 11 and 12-year-olds have a profile on a social networking site with a minimum age of 13.

Age verification is a nut that social networking sites are yet to crack.

We want social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to take a pragmatic approach - if younger children are determined to use social networking sites for over 13 year-olds, the sites can't simply turn a blind eye.

Sites 'need to urgently take child safety more seriously'

BeatBullying has backed calls from the NSPCC for social media sites to do more to protect their young users.

BeatBullying said social media sites need to put some money into protecting their users. Credit: PA Archive

BeatBullying founder Emma-Jane Cross said:

"This research underlines the urgent need for social networking sites to take their young users' safety much more seriously.

"We believe in the right of children to go online without fear of being bullied or harassed, and this cannot be achieved until social networks put adequate resources behind safeguarding and user verification policies."

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Calls for social sites to acknowledge child users

The NSPCC are calling for social media sites to acknowledge that many of their users are under the age of 18, in order to do more to safeguard their child users.

The comments come as new research by the children's charity found that around half of the UK's 11 and 12-year-old regularly use social media, and of these, a quarter said they had been upset by something on it.

Quarter of children 'upset after social media incident'

A quarter of children aged between 11 and 12 who use social media have been upset by something on it over the past year, new research from the NSPCC has revealed.

Of the quarter upset by something on social media, 18% felt scared or upset for weeks to come. Credit: PA Archive

A poll of more than 1,000 youngsters also found that a fifth of children who had been upset by an online incident such as trolling, bullying or being sent inappropriate sexual messages, experienced this every day or almost every day.

Justice minister: 'More needs done' for child witnesses

Justice Minister Damian Green admitted more work was needed to help children be supported through the court process. Responding to the NSPCC report that highlighted failures in adequate care of young and vulnerable witnesses at criminal proceedings, he said:

There are a range of measures available to help reduce the anxiety of attending court, including giving evidence behind a screen or the use of a registered intermediary, which has increased significantly over recent years. We are also trialling pre-recorded evidence for young and vulnerable witnesses.

We recognise that more work needs to be done.

I have ordered an investigation into how we might reduce the distress caused to victims from cross examination from multiple defence barristers without compromising the fundamental right to a fair trial.

Young witnesses can be questioned in 'aggressive way'

A senior policy analyst for the NSPCC says young witnesses can be questioned by barristers in an "aggressive way" when giving evidence in court in sexual abuse cases.

Lisa McCrindle told the BBC:

The courts are concentrating on the point of law, which is correct, but it means there is often little or no communication between the courts and the child.

– Lisa McCrindle, senior policy analyst for the NSPCC
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