Researching Historical Institutional Child Sex Abuse Scandals: The Savile Effect

Professor Chris Greer (City University of London)


This seminar considers ongoing research on historical institutional child sex abuse (ICSA) scandals. Its focus is the multi-institutional scandal triggered by sensational 2012 allegations that British television icon and 'national treasure' Sir Jimmy Savile was a 'prolific sexual predator' who abused hundreds of young people over six decades across Britain's key institutions.

First, Professor Greer will outline a model for researching ICSA scandals. Second, he will map the Savile Scandal against successive phases of the model and illustrate its continuing amplification as more individuals and institutions become implicated in the perpetration, facilitation, denial and/or cover-up of historical ICSA. Third, he will demonstrate how the Savile Scandal is being politicised in order to advance a variety of ideological and moral agendas, in turn further fuelling the scandal's amplification. Finally, Professor Greer will ask 'why now'?