Referrals at a Doncaster sexual abuse service have rocketed by more than 40 per cent over the last three years in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Kevin Hill, manager at the Doncaster Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service, says ‘far more people than before’ have reached out for help from the charity, since the revelations the television star had abused hundreds of women and children at the height of his fame were revealed in 2011.
In the immediate six-month period from October 2012, there was an average increase of 33 per cent in the number of people referred to DRASACS.
And last year, referrals to the Doncaster-based charity increased by an average of 12 per cent compared with the number of people seen by the service in 2012.
Today, the service has an average of 35 new referrals every single month.
One in six of those referred are people aged under 18, and one in five are male.
Mr Hill says the ‘Jimmy Savile and Operation Yewtree effect’ has changed the way people view sexual abuse in England forever.
Operation Yewtree is the police investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Savile and others.
Mr Hill said he views the increase in referrals as a positive step forward.
He said that it suggests more victims of sexual abuse now have the confidence to go to the police and to seek help – but warns the number of people coming forward is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
He said: “The number of people we were seeing just went through the roof.
“More and more people are beginning to acknowledge what had happened to them and feel like they don’t need to hide it any more, which is positive, but we know it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“Some people who have been abused or experienced sexual violence deal with it in their own way and feel like it’s in the past and don’t want to talk about it again.
“That’s fine if they’re dealing with it, say through talking to a friend or through exercise, but some people cope with it in an unhealthy way perhaps through alcohol or drug abuse which only makes things worse,
“We want to be there for people to stop that from happening.
“We are here for anyone who needs our help. Our motto is ‘we believe you’.”
n For more information or to book an appointment, call DRASACS on 01302 360421.