A Derry counselling service says it has been inundated with inquiries in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.
Widespread claims of horrific abuse at the hands of the disgraced TV star have sparked a flood of calls to Nexus, the city-based support group for victims of sexual abuse.
Helena Bracken, manager of Nexus’ local office at Clarendon Street, says the Savile revelations have “triggered painful memories and brought past hurts to the surface”.
She said: “There has been a marked upsurge in the number of calls we’ve been receiving since this particular issue came to light.
“On average, we would receive five referrals per day. However, on the Monday morning after this story first broke, we received no less than 17 referrals.
“This is a significant increase and underscores just how many people there are out there who are hurting.”
Ms. Bracken said Nexus had received calls from people both directly and indirectly affected by abuse.
“People need to remember that it’s not just the individual victims themselves who are impacted by abuse but their families, too. Many victims of abuse have particular mechanisms which they rely on to cope with what they’ve been through but it can take something like a news report in a paper or a storyline in a TV programme to trigger painful memories.
“It’s at this stage that we find these people will contact us.”
Ms. Bracken said that, while she was not surprised at the details of the Savile revelations, she was “shocked” at the “sheer volume of people affected by this prolific sex offender.”
She encouraged anyone directly or indirectly affected by abuse to contact Nexus at 38 Clarendon Street. Tel: (028) 71 260566.