- Fury at result of Deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz’s study
- Said figures on Asian gangs weren’t enough to conclude particular issue
- NSPCC says there is danger of ‘turning a blind eye’ to abusers’ ethnicity
Controversial: Deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz said the ‘model’ of Asian men targeting white girls was just one of ‘a number of models’
The author of report into gang sex abuse today hit back at government criticism of her findings that there was no particular problem among Asian groups.
The study by deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz came to the controversial conclusion, despite figures in her own report revealing that more than a quarter of perpetrators of gang-based child abuse known to the authorities are Asian.
Senior Whitehall figures have branded the report ‘hysterical’ and ‘highly emotional’.
Last night a Government source said it was ‘difficult to overstate the contempt’ with which ministers viewed the report’s conclusions.
And the NSPCC said the report exposed the danger of ‘turning a blind eye’ to the ethnicity of abusers.
Miss 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.
And today she challenged ministers to take her report seriously, warning them it was a ‘wake-up call’.
‘This is a very calm, measured report,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘We have left out the most harrowing details, really shocking distressing stories that children have told us, that we have heard form police. I would say to the government: This is a wake up call.
‘This is the most comprehensive pulling together of sexual abuse in England. They need to take it very seriously and show some leadership.’
- Police conduct painstaking search of house ‘where men would meet for parties’ as eight are held over sexual abuse of girl over four years
- YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN: Why as a Muslim and a mother I believe it’s so damaging to hide from the truth about Asian sex gangs
She denied that the problem of Asian men targeting white girls had been ‘left out’ of her report, but repeatedly insisted it ‘is only one model’ of abuse.
She also appeared to blame police forces and councils for failing to collect information on the race and faith of perpetrators.
Of the information, of the data sent to us by the police and local authorities about perpetrators, in six out of 10 cases there was no information available – the ethnicity and faith was not identified.
‘Where children are falling through the net because people think it there is only one model of abuse this is a wake up call,’ she added.
‘We have heard evidence from the police forces that there are white males doing this across the country in fairly large numbers.’
Dim light: Figures in the report state that out of 1,514 perpetrators identified, some 415 were Asian
She said there was not evidence to conclude that there was a particular issue with Asian gangs.
Instead, her report says simply that abuse is carried out by men of all backgrounds.
In May, nine Asian men who groomed white girls as young as 13 in Rochdale with drink and drugs were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court.
Judge Gerald Clifton told them one of the reasons they targeted their victims was because they were not part of their community or religion.
Last year Abid Saddique was jailed for his role as ringleader of a Derby gang that cruised streets for girls as young as 12 who were plied with vodka and cocaine before being raped or abused.
Saddique, who is of Pakistani origin, took the vulnerable young girls to ‘parties’ in hotels or flats with other gang members.
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 – but did nothing for fear of looking racist.
Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: ‘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.’
A Government source said: ‘It is difficult to overstate the contempt the Government has for the methodology and analysis in this report. The whole thing is half-baked.’
Figures in the report state that out of 1,514 perpetrators identified, some 415 were Asian.
This is 27 per cent of the total, far in excess of the proportion of Asian people in the community at large, which is 6 per cent.
Some 545 are described as white, 244 as black, 49 as mixed, while the rest were undisclosed.
But Miss Berelowitz’s report said: ‘Different models of exploitation have been identified. The evidence is clear that perpetrators come from all ethnic groups and so do their victims – contrary to what some may wish to believe.’
The report suggested the proportion of Asian perpetrators in the figures may be higher than whites because the authorities were targeting non-whites.
Unhappy: Tory MP Margot James said it was ‘very disappointing’ that the report shied away from tackling a ‘specific problem in certain Asian communities – specifically the Pakistani community’
It even concluded that the data on ethnicity was ‘unreliable’ because victims sometimes changed their description of their abuser.
‘On the face of it, this is an issue for all ethnicities, but there is a specific problem in certain Asian communities – specifically the Pakistani community – in too many cities to ignore the phenomenon. Unless we recognise the problem, we won’t be able to devise a strategy for tackling it’
Tory MP Margot James
A Whitehall source said last week: ‘It’s important we don’t take a politically correct approach and pretend there is not a real problem here.
‘Obviously abuse has been carried out by men from all sorts of ethnic background. But that doesn’t mean we cannot say there is an issue about groups of Pakistani men systematically targeting young white girls.’
Tory MP Margot James said: ‘On the face of it, this is an issue for all ethnicities, but there is a specific problem in certain Asian communities – specifically the Pakistani community – in too many cities to ignore the phenomenon.
‘Unless we recognise the problem, we won’t be able to devise a strategy for tackling it.
‘It is very disappointing that this report has shied away from it, given the fact that some leadership is coming from within the Asian community. They need support.’