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NSPCC: Victims of historical abuse want 'to be believed'

Rolf Harris' victims see his guilty verdict and being believed as a form of justice after the Attorney General decided not to contest the disgraced entertainer's sentence, a child protection expert told Good Morning Britain.

Head of Child Protection Operations for the NSPCC, John Cameron, said despite the controversial sentence Rolf Harris received, his victims had some hope of closure because they had been believed.

Harris victim: Refusal to extend sentence 'is an insult'

One of Rolf Harris' victims expressed her anger over his sentence for sex crimes and described the length of time the disgraced children's entertainer will serve as "an insult".

The woman, who was abused by Harris when she was a small child, told Good Morning Britain the Attorney General's decision not to review the sentence of five years and nine months "sent out the wrong signals".

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Victim: 'Not enough even if Rolf Harris died in prison'

A victim who gave evidence against Rolf Harris in the case that led to him being jailed for five year and nine month for sex offences has told ITV News that even if the disgraced entertainer died in prison it would not be enough. Her comments come after the Attorney General's office said that his sentence would not be referred to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient.

Part of me just wants him to stay in jail and never come out because even if he stayed in jail until he died, it wouldn't make up for the years and years that all the women - not just all the ones that gave evidence but I am sure other ones - have gone through. I think in no way does the sentence reflect the gravity of the crimes.

– Victim

Read: Attorney General - No appeal over Rolf Harris sentence

Why was Rolf Harris' sentence not referred for appeal?

The Attorney General decided not to refer Rolf Harris' sentence to the Court of Appeal because there were several reasons the original sentence would not be considered "unduly lenient".

The entertainer's age was one of the factors that influenced his sentence of five years and nine months for 12 counts of indecent assault.

A spokeswoman said the judge in the case also had to sentence Harris based on the maximum punishment available at the time of the offences.

It was also not possible to "simply add up sentences on individual counts" to reach a longer sentence, she explained.

"The overall sentence had to be just and proportionate to the overall offending," the spokeswoman added.

Read: Attorney General: No appeal on Rolf Harris sentence

Attorney General: No appeal on Rolf Harris sentence

Rolf Harris' prison term will not be increased after the Attorney General decided not to refer his sentence to the Court of Appeal.

Jeremy Wright decided against the move as he felt judges would not increase Harris' jail term.

Rolf Harris' sentence for indecent assault will not be increased.
Rolf Harris' sentence for indecent assault will not be increased. Credit: PA Wire

The case was referred after numerous complaints that the five years and nine month sentence against the 84-year old entertainer did not reflect the severity of his crimes.

A spokesperson for Mr Wright said: “The Attorney General understands that his decision not to refer the case may be a disappointment to some people; however, he did give extremely careful consideration to this sentence and he concluded that he could not refer it.”

Although the Attorney General does have the power to refer sentences to the Court of Appeal there is a high threshold that means the original sentence must be well below what the judge could reasonably have handed down.

Read: Rolf Harris should 'feel what it's like to lose freedom'

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Harris' sentence referred over claim it's 'unduly lenient'

The Attorney General's Office wrote following Rolf Harris' sentencing:

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We confirm Rolf Harris's sentence has been referred to us under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

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It only takes one person to trigger the ULS process. Law Officers have until Friday 1 August to consider whether they wish to refer it.

Harris has been sentenced to five years and nine months in prison for indecently assaulting four girls over a near 20-year period.

Police thank Rolf Harris victims for their 'courage'

The police today invited people who want to speak to them following the jailing of Rolf Harris for indecent assault to do so, as they thanked the TV personality's victims for their "courage" in coming forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orchard said:

The court has today heard about the impact these crimes have had on those involved. Once again I would like to thank all the victims for their courage in coming forward.

If there is any person that wishes to speak with the police they can contact their local police team or the NSPCC.

– DCI Michael Orchard
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