Margaret Mitchell MSP is asking the Scottish government to consider establishing a nationwide helpline for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
The Central Scotland representative made the call after receiving confirmation through a Holyrood question that enquiries to support organisations have soared following the revelations about Jimmy Savile.
Coatbridge-born Mrs Mitchell is the convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and has now written to children and young people’s minister Aileen Campbell to press the case for a national service.
She told the Advertiser: “I was aware that more people were coming forward to seek assistance, and the minister confirmed that this trend is more widespread.
“In light of the increase, I asked if the government would consider carrying out a scoping exercise on the need for a national Scottish helpline for survivors.
“Last week, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre reported a 30 per cent increase in reports of abuse in November as a result of the Savile effect, and calls to the NSPCC have increased 200 per cent since October.
“The revelations have prompted new victims come forward but have also had an impact on those survivors previously accessing support services given the widespread attention the issue has attracted.
“Clearly, childhood sexual abuse is a huge issue, and one of which the general public is now more aware.”
The Advertiser told last month how the Airdrie-based Moira Anderson Foundation,which provides counselling and support services to survivors, had been inundated with new enquiries in the wake of the revelations.
Charity founder Sandra Brown, said then: “The numbers coming to us doubled in 2010-2011, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any busier, the Jimmy Savile allegations ensured our phones never stopped through October.
“The lesson we hope people will take is that it’s never too late to ask for help, or to receive it.”
Responding to Mrs Mitchell’s question, Ms Campbell said: “The Scottish Government is aware that Children 1st, for example, is receiving increased approaches following recent high-profile child abuse investigations.
“The Scottish Government does not tolerate any form of child abuse; I encourage anyone who is looking for support to visit the Survivor Scotland website, which details a range of support services.
“Since 2007, we have allocated £5.1 million to fund a range of support services for survivors, piloted a forum for adult survivors, are working to set up a national confidential forum and established In Care Survivors Service Scotland.”
Mrs Mitchell said later: “Although I welcome confirmation of the government’s support for survivors, the minister’s response did not address either the scoping exercise or the possible need to establish a helpline and have written to the minister in an effort to get those answers.”