Pervert Jimmy Savile is rotting in hell but his legacy continues to affect the rights of disabled people, especially those travelling by air.
Earlier today the full extent of Jimmy Savile criminal activities became known. The report on the inquiry led by independent investigator Dr Androulla Johnstone exposes a culture of intimidation and bullying that enabled the most dangerous sexual predator of all times to prey on vulnerable people across the United Kingdom for decades.
The Stoke Mandeville investigator said NHS managers failed in their duty to protect patients. As a result, abuse happened on their watch. "The individuals to whom these incidents were reported failed in their duty to protect. No intelligence about Savile's behaviour was gathered over the years and no action was taken,” the damning report says. “Whilst witnesses told us it was an open secret within the hospital that Savile was a lecher and general nuisance, none stated that they knew about his sexual abuse activities."
Legal experts think it is highly unlikely someone will be held to account. For dozens of people abused over the years the only hope is that those who enabled the monster to prey on them will join him in hell in due time.
Jimmy Savile may be long gone, yet his legacy is alive. I see it every day when reading a concern or complaint.
On paper, people with disabilities traveling by air have rights. In reality, their journey is made possible by those showing basic human decency towards the most vulnerable in society. But those who don’t know they will get away with their hideous actions.
Legislation protecting the rights of disabled passengers came into effect in July 2008. Nobody knows exactly how many complaints have been filed since. Unlike in the United States, UK airports and airlines are not under the obligation to report complaints received to the Civil Aviation authority.
In October 2012 the UK CAA took over the complaint handling task from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Despite the hundreds of complaint received since, not a case has been enforced, not a perpetrator has been brought to justice by the UK CAA.
In this scenario, it is only natural for disabled people to turn to charities for help. Few weeks back I was approached by a small charity whose members were having a problem with an airport. I explained them it was their birth-given right to ask for certain services as the law puts an obligation on airports to assist people with reduced mobility.
The charity thanked for the advice, but said they were scared to stand up for their members as they feared they would be singled out as trouble makers. It is widely known charities fear meddling with the powers that be may negatively impact their fund raising activities.
The culture of coercion that guaranteed Savile’s impunity is alive, and those who subjugate disabled people thrive on it. There is a way to change course. On the day his legacy is exposed, raise your head; ask questions and demand clear answers; make sure the world around you understand the time for putting up with bullying is over.
Jimmy Savile rots in hell; you have the power to make his legacy joins him today.