Care home abuse victim speaks out as Jimmy Savile investigation begins

A victim of sex abuse at a Jewish children’s home being investigated in the Jimmy Savile scandal has said the Jewish community needs to do more to protect its children.

Jane Hersey was abused by a female nurse at the Sarah Laski Home in Crumpsall, Manchester, in the mid-1960s.

The home, which closed in 1974, was named by Education Secretary Michael Gove as one of 21 where Savile allegedly abused youngsters.

It is the first time Jewish victims have been connected with the disgraced DJ.

Mrs Hersey, now 61, waited over 45 years before publishing two books about the abuse she suffered. She has set up a website for victims, but is concerned that no one else from Manchester’s Jewish community has come forward with similar claims.

“My hope is people get the authorities involved and not brush abuse under the carpet.

“Savile preyed on children in care homes and obviously there are Jewish care homes he visited, so this investigation doesn’t come as any surprise.”

The home opened under the auspices of the city’s Jewish Board of Guardians in 1953, and later became known as the Manchester Jewish School for Disabled Children. It closed due to lack of funding.

Education Secretary Michael Gove told Parliament that information about Savile dating back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s had been uncovered by police.

He said: “I have decided that the Department for Education should pass the information to the appropriate organisations for further investigation.”

Manchester City Council, which will conduct the probe at the Laski home said it “will do everything we can to investigate as thoroughly as possible in accordance with the process and within the timescales set down by the Department for Education.”

Mark Cunningham, chief operating officer of Manchester welfare charity The Fed, which now oversees the Federation of Jewish Services, said the organisation was “anxious to help with any requests for information which may be available from archive materials held either by the charity or on our behalf.”

Savile had a close relationship with Jewish communities across the country and was a long-standing supporter of Jewish charities.

Last updated: 12:38pm, April 3 2014