Jimmy Savile died in October aged 84 (Reuters)
It is feared Jimmy Savile abused up to 1,000 girls and boys during his lifetime

Victims of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile claim they were laughed at and told they were "lucky" the late DJ paid them attention, according to a report.

Many of the victims say they do not feel they were taken seriously enough when they spoke out against the late Top of the Pops presenter.

The NSPCC report, which looked into why Savile's victims stayed silent for so long, reveals there was an "overwhelming belief" they would not be believed if they came forward.

The children's charity said they spoke to 29 sexual abuse victims to better understand how their claims were dealt with. Four of them were adults when they were abused by Savile, the others being children. Only one had reported him to the police, but no action was taken.

The publication of the report arrives as more than 130 of Savile's victims begin a High Court battle for compensation against the late Radio 1 DJ, who died in 2011 aged 84.

The report said: "Jimmy Savile was a powerful and influential adult, who was seen as a 'charitable, good guy' raising a lot of money for charity.

"This led to feelings of hopelessness and inferiority in his victims, who felt there was no way that their word would have been believed over his."

The report adds that another reason some of the victim's claims were ignored was because staff at the hospitals where Savile is thought to have abused a number of his victims had no obligation to act on complaints.

The reports adds "crucially" that all participants said they finally decided to come forward after they saw similar complaints by other victims in the media, which began to emerge a year after his death.

It adds: "Some remembered feeling that an elder - particularly a celebrity like Jimmy Savile - must know better than they did.

"There were also cases where participants also remembered feeling conflicted, and wondering if they should feel flattered or grateful that he had 'chosen them'."

Peter Watt, the NSPCC's director of national services, said: "The responses these victims received when they first revealed Savile's sickening crimes makes heart-rending reading.

All participants said that they would not have come forward now had they not seen the stories of other victims in the press
- NSPCC report

"They were ignored, dismissed, not believed, laughed at and, astonishingly, told in some cases they should feel lucky he had paid them attention.

"Half a century on, the world finally discovered just how dreadful his crimes were - something these men and women had known all that time but felt powerless to do anything about."

The research was commissioned by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Her Majesty's Inspector Drusilla Sharpling said: "Despite the difficulties they have faced, victims have highlighted important ways in which police responses can be improved.

"We owe it to them to make sure that the police service responds positively and ensures victims are supported, listened to and treated with compassion."