19:19 GMT21 February 2020
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    While 11.7 million UK children could have suffered sexual abuse, charities' struggle to help the victims is heavily hampered by lack of funds.

    EDINBURGH, December 9 (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – It is no surprise that as many as 11 million children in the United Kingdom have allegedly fallen victim to sexual abuse, a leading British charity that supports survivors of sexual child abuse told Russia's Sputnik news agency Tuesday.

    "We are not at all surprised. We have been saying it is in this region for many years," Dr. Jon Bird, Operations Manager for the charity the National Association for People Abused in Childhood said.

    The statement comes after Graham Wilmer, a UK government adviser on sexual abuse and founder of the "Lantern Project", an organization that provides care and support for victims told Sky News on Monday there were potentially 11.7 million victims who have not yet disclosed the abuse they suffered in childhood.

    Bird added that support for survivors throughout the country was patchy, and lack of funds was hampering efforts to provide psychiatric and emotional support for people affected by sexual abuse in childhood.

    "We need to see psychiatric and emotional support available to survivors on demand and for as long as it takes for each individual to recover," Bird told Sputnik.

    "At the moment we can only say that there is limited support through the NHS in some areas of the country and many areas of the country have no support at all. We have to refer callers to local charities and many of them are struggling for funds at the moment," Bird added.

    Charities and organizations who offer support and counselling for those affected by child sexual abuse have reported increased contact following the sex scandal involving Jimmy Savile, the late BBC TV presenter who was exposed as a predatory sex offender.

    Savile was one of Britain's most well-known celebrity figures, a close friend of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and was knighted by the Queen in 1990. Following his death in 2011, hundreds of victims came forward alleging they had been abused by Savile resulting in a major police investigation known as Operation Yewtree that discovered Savile had been a serial sex abuser who abused more than 450 victims.

    Officers working on Operation Yewtree subsequently discovered evidence of other child sex assaults carried out by British celebrities leading to the arrest of 18 other men. Four were later found guilty, nine resulted in no prosecution due to lack of evidence and the remainder are currently on bail awaiting trial.


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    charity, investigations, child abuse, National Health Service (NHS), Britain
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