Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has given the following message after today’s sentencing of Rolf Harris to five years, nine months in prison after his conviction for 12 sexual assaults on girls between 1968 and 1986
This sentencing today sends out an important message to anyone who thinks they are beyond the law. They are not.
Rolf Harris used his fame, status, influence and national iconic image to attack young girls.
He is a sexual predator who knew his actions were wrong and said as much in the letter he sent to one of his victim’s fathers giving excuses for his conduct.
But this man thought he was untouchable, even attacking a friend of his daughter while she was sleeping in the same room.
I hope today’s sentence encourages other people to come forward who may have suffered the same or similar experiences, whoever the person who did it was, they will be investigated and prosecuted
Northumbria Police are an example of how a well-trained and sympathetic approach can be beneficial to victims who will receive help in getting access to the right services.
Police working with their partners and other organisations will offer all the support needed.
Victims need to understand they are not alone and do not have to face the future alone, there is help there for them.
Trials like this can help other victims as they see that help is available for them and that are believed no matter who the accusation is being made against.
It also shows that this totally unacceptable conduct doesn’t stop until it is stopped.