A former High Court judge warned today that social attitudes towards child abuse need to change in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Baroness Butler-Sloss said police officers too often dismiss minors as "bad girls" rather than victims.
The cross-bench peer, who chaired the Cleveland child abuse inquiry and the Family Court division of the High Court, told the BBC Today programme that too many people tried to blame the girls themselves, in whole or in part.
Even police officers and social workers who knew the law too often "overlooked these were criminal offences."
"The law is there to protect children and you don't start treating children under 16 as bad girls, you start by saying how can they be protected from this kind of bad behaviour?
"What worries me about Jimmy Savile and the appalling story is everybody will be terribly upset for a while and then it will die down," she said.
Child sex abuse charity Lucy Faithfull Foundation's Donald Findlater said the Savile case showed clearly how abusers manipulated and exploited children's vulnerability.
"It is not fair to expect children to protect themselves. Adults must take responsibility for doing that for them."
He said the pending inquiry into the Savile scandal should examine why BBC staff did not act on their suspicions.