The Home Office has published its long anticipated report into child exploitation.
The report was published on Tuesday almost two years after it was promised by previous Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The report concludes that all sexual offenders are from diverse backgrounds.
The paper said that despite high profile cases such as Rotherham and Telford have been committed by Pakistani ethnicity, the ‘links between ethnicity and this form of offending’ are not proven.
In fact, the report states that group based child exploitation is predominantly from white offender.
The high-profile cases have led to a disproportionate 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.’
The report suggests that data collected from police forces shows the operations into Child Sexual Exploitation offender groups were broadly ethnically homogenous. However, there are cases where offenders within groups come from different backgrounds.
The 59-page report also details of the ages and genders of group offenders with them being predominantly male and under the age of 30. The report also mentions that single child sexual offenders are often older.
The motives for child sexual offences were also reviewed in the document with sexual interest in children not always the motive
The report suggests “Financial gain and a desire for sexual gratification are common motives and misogyny and disregard for women and girls may further enable the abuse. The group dynamic can have a role in creating an environment in which offenders believe they can act with impunity, in exacerbating disregard for victims, and in drawing others into offending behaviour”.
The investigations found that offenders from their victims by ‘othering’ usually by targeting victims ‘from a different community or in relation to their gender, where misogynistic attitudes are at play”
Girls aged between 14 and 17 who have health barriers are predominantly targeted.
The health barriers could include vulnerabilities that abusers might seek to exploit, “such as being in care, experiencing episodes of going missing; and having a learning disability. Other documented factors which may be exploited by abusers include drug/alcohol dependency, mental health issues, and experience of previous abuse.”
Sexual offence reporting has increased dramatically over the years with an increase of nearly 270% in reporting since 2013.
In the year to March 2020, over 83,300 child sexual abuse offences were recorded by police, an increase of nearly 270% since 2013. In the same period, there were approximately 8,200 charges for offences.
The report highlights the live and ongoing child exploitation cases from across the UK.
In June of this year it states there were 70 cases of child exploitation being investigated, unfortunately this number could be higher as only 32 forces across England, Scotland and Wales submitted data.
In these ongoing investigations, the ethnicities of the offenders and victims included, “American, Angolan, Bangladeshi, Bengali, British, Bulgarian, Congolese, Dutch, Eritrean, Indian, Iranian, Jamaican, Lithuanian, Pakistani, Portuguese, Somali, Syrian, and Zimbabwean
Commenting on the study the Home secretary Priti Patel said:
“The paper sets out the limited available evidence on the characteristics of offenders including how they operate, ethnicity, age, offender networks, as well as the context in which these crimes are often committed, along with implications for frontline responses and for policy development. 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.
Victims and survivors of these abhorrent crimes have told me how they were let down by the state in the name of political correctness. What happened to these children remains one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience. I am determined to ensure the government, law enforcement and other partners better understand any community and cultural factors relevant to tackling offending – helping us to safeguard children from abuse, deliver justice for victims and survivors, and restore the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system’s ability to confront these repulsive crimes.”