An investigation by British police into 1400 suspects including celebrities and politicians over child sex abuse allegations has begun.
One abuse victim and councellor Graham Wilmer said that “the 1400 suspects that have been talked about today are literally the tip of the iceberg.”
“We are working with hundreds of survivors who have yet to come forward, we are working with them helping them to come forward,” Wilmer said.
The head of Child Protection at National Police Chiefs’ Council [NPCC] Simon Bailey said that “victims more so that ever before are having the confidence to come forward and report abuse. And they can be reassured that when they come forward and report their abuse that we are now responding differently in the years gone by.”
“The number of victims would run into the thousands,” he said.
The NPCC also reported that it will receive around 116,000 reports of child abuse by the end of the year.
Home Secretary Theresa May stated that the UK parliament “will need to face up to the changing nature of crime and the impact on police forces, including the much greater reporting of previously ignored or under-reported crimes such as child sexual abuse.”
“So let me be clear, I am committed to ensuring the police have the resources they need to investigate these appalling crimes and bring perpetrators to justice,” she added.
The main object of the “Operation Hydrant” team was creating a database of suspects to prevent further abuse cases in the future.
Attention was drawn to child abuse by figures in positions of authority following a scandal surrounding deceased TV show host Jimmy Savile. Media reports claimed that Savile abused many victims for years.
Following the case of Savile, entertainer and broadcaster Rolf Harris, rock star Gary Glitter and publicist Max Clifford were convicted over the same allegations.
At the beginning of March, British Prime Minister David Cameron made child sexual abuse a national priority on par with organised crime and announced a series of measures to prevent systematic abuse.