Whilst I was a sitting councillor I was once asked by a council officer what I would advise them to do in a situation where a person whom they were pursuing for nuisance had alleged that their accuser was being subjected to domestic abuse by a relative.
Whilst the accusation on the surface appeared to be malicious, the officer in question considered on reflection that there was sufficient evidence for them not to reject the allegation out of hand.
I stated then, and I state again now, that in a civilised society it is incumbent on each of us to report any suspected abuse to the proper authorities so that it can be properly investigated. The officer in question did so and the allegation was properly investigated.
During the investigation, colleagues of the officer in question misunderstood the situation and advised the person against whom the allegation had been made that it was I who had raised the initial concern, a matter that was subsequently clearered up.
When confronted by the person in question, I restated the advice that I had initially given and despite that individual not liking me for giving that advice, I stand by it today.
I have seen the impact on children of neglect and abuse; I have seen the impact on women and men of domestic violence; I have seen the impact on women and men of homophobic bullying and of race hate and even of disability hate crimes (yes, they really do exist). It comes with the territory as an urban councillor in a big City that you see these things and you have to learn to recognise and report them, no matter who the perpetrator may be.
The Jimmy Saville case is frightening, not only because of what this man did to so many children, but because the authorities that are supposed to be the very bodies that protect people from such situations protected instead the perpetrator of these crimes.
I have heard people say that the man is dead, can not defend himself and should be left to rest in peace. That is the very attitude that for 40 years protected the reputation of a man whom was clearly known by some to be a serial abuser. This case could have been brought into the open at the same time as Garry Glitter and Jonathan King. Any abuse that took place since those trials should lie for the rest of their lives on the conscience of those who protected Saville.
I hope and prey that Saville, King and Glitter were the only three involved, but my every instinct cries out to me that there may be others and that they too are being protected.
Abuse, not matter what no matter where, must not be tolerated.
I have heard it said that the amount this man raised for charity should be taken into account before judging him, and yet it would appear that every penny raised for charity was utilised as a part of the excuse for proptecting him. Those who accepted that money suspecting or knowing what was happening and not challenging or reporting it are as guilty of the abuse as the man himself. I prey that they now find it in their conscience to come forward and identify any others whom they may suspect of living the same great lie as this man.
I recall, when I was a City Councillor, insisting that a series of local campaigns against domestic violence, homophobic abuse, race hate crimes and disability hate crimes be launched in the same room, at the same time. Whilst certain community leaders argued against this stance the police backed me 100%. The reason is simple, if you bring consideration of all the abuse together, in one place, then those who think one form of abuse is acceptabe whilst another is not have to face up to the reality that abuse is abuse; it is that simple.
I give the same advice today as I gave that council officer back then, in a civilised society it is incumbent on each of us to report any suspected abuse to the proper authorities so that it can be properly investigated.