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Child Sex Abuse Report Criticised For Playing Down Race Of Offenders

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CHILD ABUSE
The author of the report avoided drawing conclusions about race | Alamy

A report detailing the extent of child sexual exploitation in England is under fire for playing down the race of offenders.

The Office of Children's Commissioner's interim report detailed 2,409 victims and 16,500 at risk children between August 2010 and October 2011.

It also noted the disproportionate representation of black and Asian amongst offenders but the reports author, Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz, has refused to draw conclusions from the figures.

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Qamar Shahzad (left) and Mohammed Amin were found guilty, along with nine other men, of exploiting five underage girls for sex.

Despite making up only 6.9% of the population, Asian and South-East Asian men made up 27.4% of offenders, according to the report.

Black men make up 2.3% of the population but 16.1% of offenders.

By comparison, white men make up 91% of the population but only 35.9% of offenders.

In May, Education Secretary Michael Gove told Berelowitz that her inquiries should not be be swayed by questions of prejudice and should instead "ask tough questions about cultural background".

Writing in the Guardian around the same time, two experts in sex abuse and grooming from University College London, called for a "better, more efficient system of data collection and collation" before conclusions could be drawn on the racial profile of sex offenders.

Ella Cockbain and Helen Brayleya said: "We desperately need a clear definition of this crime type, agreed upon and adhered to by all relevant statutory agencies, including the police, children's services and the third sector."

They also noted the profile, though not the numbers, of typical offenders.

They wrote: "First, we have the white offenders, who typically offend alone. So far, nothing new: the lone white male is the norm for UK child sex offences.

"Second, however, there are Asian offenders, many of whom are of Pakistani origin. They seem much more likely to offend in groups."

Together with extensive media coverage of networks of mainly Pakistani men grooming and abusing young girls, questions are being asked about why the new report plays down the race of those who commit child sex abuse.

Berelowitz has denied that the report had fallen victim to political correctness.

She told ITV’s Daybreak on Wednesday: “Our report found that there is that model of Pakistani men and white girls, but it’s only one model and it is extraordinarily important that everybody wakes up to the fact that there are other models of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation as well.

"Because otherwise what we’ve found is that victims are falling through the net, and of course that perpetrators are falling through the net — they’re not being identified and apprehended.”

“So part of the wake-up call is this is not just one group of males within one community doing something — that’s part of the picture. It’s a bigger picture than that, though.”

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary said: "This report shows thousands of children right across the country are already known to have been sexually exploited, raped or abused while many more are vulnerable and need better protection."

Neither Labour or the Department for Education had commented on the race of those identified in the study as child abusers at the time of writing.

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