Victims of child sex abuse falling through the net because of a pre-occupation with Asian men targeting white girls

 

Victims of child sex abuse are falling through the net because of a pre-occupation with Asian men targeting white girls can mean that investigators ignore other forms of abuse, the deputy children’s commissioner has warned.

Thousands of children each year are being sexually exploited by gangs and groups in England, an interim report by the Office of the Children's Commissioner found.

Figures published midway through a two-year inquiry, which was ordered by the Government, found 2,409 children and young people were confirmed victims between August 2010 and October 2011.

A further 16,500 children were at “high risk” of sexual exploitation between April 2010 and March 2011, the report found.

The report comes after nine Asian men who groomed white girls as young as 13 in Rochdale with drink and drugs were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court in May.

Sentencing the men, Judge Gerald Clifton concluded that one of the reasons they had targeted their victims was because the girls had not been part of their community or religion.

Two months ago, documents emerged which allegedly showed agencies in Rotherham were aware of allegations of widespread targeted abuse of teenage girls in the town by groups of Asian men.

However, the report's leader, Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz, said the “model” of Asian men targeting white girls was just one of “a number of models”, and warned that if investigators concentrated on those patterns, victims could fall through the net.

The report provided evidence of 1514 perpetrators of child sexual exploitation. Where the ethnicity of the perpetrator was provided, 545 were white, 415 were Asian and 244 were Black.

While acknowledging that this number of Asian perpetrators appeared high, Ms Berelowitz said that the data was incomplete as the focus of the inquiry was on the child victims not on their abusers.

She said: “The reality is that each year thousands of children in England are raped and abused by people seeking to humiliate, violate and control them.

”The impact on their lives is devastating. These children have been abducted, trafficked, beaten and threatened after being drawn into a web of sexual violence, sometimes by promises of love and sometimes simply because they know there is no alternative.

“This abuse and violence can be relentless and take place anywhere - as they go home from school, as they walk to the shops, in their local park.

”The vast majority of the perpetrators are male and, in both gang and group contexts, different models of exploitation have been identified.

“Perpetrators range in age from young adolescents to older men. The evidence is clear that they come from all ethnic groups and so do their victims - contrary to what some may wish to believe.”

The report concluded that both boys and girls could be victims of sexual exploitation, although the vast majority were girls. The majority of sexually-exploited children were living at home when their abuse began. However a disproportionate number were living in residential care compared to the total number of youngsters in care. Almost three out of ten victims (28 per cent) were from ethnic minority backgrounds. This was significant, the report concluded, given that the “general perception appears to be that sexual exploitation by groups, in particular, is primarily a crime against white children”.

Although the report found victims aged between four and 19-years-old with a peak age of 15, Ms Berelowitz said the abuse covered by her inquiry involved children aged at least 11.

She added: “We are not talking about pre-pubescent children. We are not talking about a paedophile profile we are taking about adults who exploit children who have at least hit puberty, children from the age of 11 up.”

Children’s charities welcomed the report but said its findings showed that urgent action was needed.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “This report is a sobering reminder that child sexual exploitation tragically remains a widespread problem that can happen to any child, in any community.

”The numbers in this report are shocking, yet they may only represent the tip of the iceberg. Way too many victims are still going undetected.”

Andrew Flanagan, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “This report quite clearly shows that the terrible problem of children being groomed for sexual abuse is widespread and needs urgent action to bring it to a halt.

“Sex offenders come from all backgrounds but if there is a problem with one community in a particular area we must be bold enough to address it and not just turn a blind eye. The grooming and organised rape of vulnerable young girls is obviously a serious and disturbing crime which cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.”

Cllr David Simmonds, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “The scale of this crime is truly shocking. Child sexual exploitation is an appalling criminal act and the ugly truth is that it can impact on children from any background or part of the country.

 “This report highlights that more can be done to keep children safe from harm and offer them the protection they deserve.

“It’s now vital that councils, the police, the health service and other agencies work more closely, and hand in hand with local communities, to stamp out this disturbing criminal behaviour.”

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits