Home Office finds child grooming gang offenders' backgrounds

Home Office child grooming gang review sparked by Rotherham scandal finds offenders come from ‘diverse backgrounds’- as Priti Patel calls ‘limited’ data ‘disappointing’

  • Review was sparked by the child grooming gangs in cities throughout Britain
  • But poorly collected data on offenders missed out characteristics like ethnicity
  • It meant investigation could not establish ‘community and cultural factors’
  • Rochdale survivor said religion remained subject ‘we cannot openly discuss’

A Home Office review into the blight of child grooming gangs has found offenders come from a diverse background – but poor data collection failed victims as it did not include characteristics including ethnicity.

Home Secretary Priti Patel laid bare her disappointment into the investigation, which was sparked by Rotherham, Rochdale and Telford child abuse networks, themselves made up of men of mainly Pakistani origin. 

The review was published following criticism that victims had been failed due to political correctness and fear of accusations of racism.

But Ms Patel said it had not been able to go far enough in her foreword to the findings.

Home Secretary Priti Patel laid bare her disappointment into parts of the investigation

She said: ‘Some studies have indicated an over-representation of Asian and Black offenders. However, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the ethnicity of offenders as existing research is limited and data collection is poor.

‘This is disappointing because community and cultural factors are clearly relevant to understanding and tackling offending.

‘Therefore, a commitment to improve the collection and analysis of data on group-based child sexual exploitation, including in relation to characteristics of offenders such as ethnicity and other factors, will be included in the forthcoming Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy.’

The Home Office consulted with an external reference group (ERG) of experts on child abuse in drawing up the paper.

Part of the report said: ‘During our conversations with police forces, we have found that in the operations reflected, offender groups come from diverse backgrounds, with each group being broadly ethnically homogenous.

‘However, there are cases where offenders within groups come from different backgrounds’

Abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse said it still taboo to discuss offenders’ race or religion

Sammy Woodhouse, a survivor of child abuse, hailed the publication online.

She added: “It was extremely important for me to be a part of the external reference group as I was subjected to exploitation and abuse as a child and failed by authorities.

“Unfortunately this is something that is still happening today and will continue to happen in the future.

“As a country, we still do not understand abuse and exploitation, and the Government is not doing enough to prevent and tackle it, so I welcome the publication of this paper.

“I want perpetrators to be held to account for their criminal activity regardless of race or religion because unfortunately they haven’t, and it still remains a subject that we cannot openly discuss. No-one should be exempt.”

Four members of the child sex grooming gang from Rochdale faced deportation to Pakistan

The review, published on Tuesday, said: “Research has found that group-based child sexual exploitation (CSE) offenders are most commonly White.

“Some studies suggest an over-representation of Black and Asian offenders relative to the demographics of national populations.

“However, it is not possible to conclude that this is representative of all group-based CSE offending.

“This is due to issues such as data quality problems, the way the samples were selected in studies, and the potential for bias and inaccuracies in the way that ethnicity data is collected.”

It found that while offenders come from diverse backgrounds, the groups themselves tend to be of men of the same ethnicities.

Money and sex are motivations as well as a sexual interest in children and misogyny, the review said. 

The Government is set to publish a Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy that will include a commitment to collecting better data on ethnicity.

British towns and cities rocked by Asian sex gang investigations 

Rotherham – The issue of child abuse in the town first came to light in 2010 when five Asian men were jailed for sexual offences against under-age girls.

A 2014 inquiry found there were more than 1,400 victims of grooming and sex exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Rochdale – The trial of nine men for grooming young white girls for sex attracted widespread public outrage and sparked a national debate when they were convicted in 2012.

The gang received jail sentences of between four and 19 years for offences committed against five girls – aged between 13 and 15 – in and around Rochdale between 2008 and 2010.

The case returned to the public consciousness earlier this year when the BBC broadcast its Three Girls drama based on the experiences of some of the victims. 

BBC Television programme ‘Three Girls’ was a dramatised version of the events surrounding the Rochdale child sex abuse ring

Newcastle – A total of 17 men and one woman were convicted of, or admitted, charges including rape, supplying drugs and inciting prostitution, in Newcastle last year.

Older men preyed on immature teenagers who were plied with cocaine, cannabis, alcohol or mephedrone (M-Cat), then raped or persuaded into having sexual activity at parties known as ‘sessions’.

The case raised huge controversy after a convicted rapist was paid almost £10,000 of taxpayers’ money to spy on parties where under-age girls were intoxicated and sexually abused.

Northumbria Police launched a major investigation after receiving information from social workers and initially spoke to 108 potential victims. Over the course of four trials, 20 young women gave evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014.

Oxford – A group of men who abused teenage girls in a vehicle they called the ‘s**gwagon’ were jailed for a total of nearly 90 years in June this year.

The men – aged 36 to 48 – befriended vulnerable girls as young as 13 before plying them drink and drugs at ‘parties’ in Oxford.

The eight men – branded ‘predatory and cynical’ by a judge – were jailed for between seven and a half and fifteen years each.

Bristol – Some 13 Somali men were jailed for more than a total of more than 100 years after they were convicted in 2014 of running an inner city sex ring.

Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and trafficked across Bristol to be passed around the men’s friends for money.

Aylesbury – Six men were jailed in 2015 for grooming vulnerable under-age white girls between 2006 and 2012.

The Old Bailey heard victims would be plied with alcohol and forced to perform sex acts for as little as ‘the price of a McDonalds’.

Peterborough – A total of 10 men were convicted of child sex crimes in the town, including ‘predatory’ restaurant boss Mohammed Khubaib.

He was jailed for 13 years at the Old Bailey in 2015, after he was found guilty of forcing a 14-year-old girl to perform a sex act on him and nine counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, involving girls aged from 12 to 15, between 2010 and 2013.

Telford – Earlier this year, Telford became the latest town to become the focus of the now sadly familiar stories of abuse.

An investigation concluded that around 1,000 children could have been sexually exploited in the Shropshire town over a 40-year period, leading to calls for a public inquiry. 

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