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Child abuse cases spark soul searching in Britain

Published on Jul 11, 2014 10:45 AM
 
Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on July 4, 2014. A wave of revelations about long-hidden child sexual abuse has left Britons wondering what is wrong with their country, but experts say they are simply facing up to a problem that exists the world over. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - A wave of revelations about long-hidden child sexual abuse has left Britons wondering what is wrong with their country, but experts say they are simply facing up to a problem that exists the world over.

"Child sexual abuse thrives on denial and secrecy. It's an incredibly difficult thing to admit to and to talk about, and the UK is not alone in that," said Jon Brown, lead official on sexual abuse at the NSPCC children's charity. "But unfortunately we are now being forced to face it squarely and look at the reality of what's been going on."

Britain has seen high-profile child abuse cases before but the revelation in 2012 that late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was a prolific sexual predator opened the floodgates.

Abuse by other celebrities such as Rolf Harris emerged later and ministers this week launched a review into decades-old rumours of a paedophile ring involving politicians and a cover-up by the establishment.

 
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