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Julia Wassell 'not suprised' by Savile claims
EX-whistleblower Julia Wassell has been inundated with calls from national media outlets this week as the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal continues to dominate the headlines.
The Wycombe councillor worked at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital from 2000 - 2002, when she blew the whistle on allegations of sexual assault of female patients by male patients (see related links).
But Cllr Wassell, the women's services director, said what followed was an aggressive attitude towards her from her employers and a string of petty disciplinary issues.
After resigning she took Broadmoor to court claiming constructive dismissal and received an out-of-court settlement in February 2003. Broadmoor said it did not admit liability and Cllr Wassell had not been victimised.
This week Cllr Wassell said she has been contacted by several newspapers and TV stations to give advice about the historic culture at Broadmoor.
And the Liberal Democrat told the Bucks Free Press: "It didn’t surprise me when I heard that Jimmy Savile had been accused of abuse at Broadmoor in the 1980s...
"When I was at Broadmoor there was a macho, old-fashioned culture in a closed institution. Clearly if male offenders had managed to get access to women patients then it wouldn’t be difficult for a celebrity with keys to do so.
"I believe the accounts of women who are now speaking out about Broadmoor. I find it ironic that when I properly reported my concerns I had my keys to Broadmoor removed, but that Jimmy Savile was given keys."
West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which runs the Berkshire hospital, said Broadmoor has "changed significantly" in the past decade and "staff are now encouraged to speak up and speak out".
It said staff are regularly reminded of the Trust’s whistle-blowing policy, and can also raise concerns independently of the organisation through a confidential phone line.
Following an independent review women patients were moved out of Broadmoor in 2007, many of them to a purpose-built women’s unit in Ealing.
A spokesman added: "In terms of Jimmy Savile’s time at the Hospital, the allegations which have appeared in the media relate to a time when Broadmoor Hospital was a separate, somewhat isolated organisation, not part of a wider NHS Trust.
"Procedures and protocols, notably security arrangements, have changed significantly in the past decade to reflect that different culture."