Child sexual exploitation and the response to localised grooming - Home Affairs Committee Contents

Formal Minutes

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Members present:

Keith Vaz, in the Chair
Nicola Blackwood

Michael Ellis

Lorraine Fullbrook

Dr Julian Huppert

Steve McCabe

Bridget Phillipson

Mark Reckless

Chris Ruane

Mr David Winnick

Draft Report (Child sexual exploitation and the response to localised grooming), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 107 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 108 read, as follows

The vast majority of convicted child-sex offenders in the UK are single White men. However, with this specific model of offending, there is a widespread perception that the majority of perpetrators are of Asian, British Asian or Muslim origin. This would certainly seem to be the case from the major grooming prosecutions which have gone to court so far, but in fact both CEOP and the Office of the Children's Commissioner have found serious inconsistencies with recording of ethnicities and gender of both victims and perpetrators across UK forces. Given the number of child sexual exploitation cases which have so far failed to make it to court, for the reasons discussed, this highly unsatisfactory situation means that it is extremely difficult to form an evidence based opinion on the true nature of what is still a largely hidden crime. Nevertheless, the perception, that grooming perpetrators are largely of Asian, British Asian or Muslim origin colours the attitudes of those working in the field, as well as the media and the wider public. Ann Cryer, the former MP for Keighley, who raised concerns about localised grooming in her constituency as long ago as 2003, faced a backlash when she described the offenders as Asian and pointed to the fact that most of them came from the Mirpur district of Kashmir (a description which she still stands by). She suggested that underlying cultural attitudes might be a factor in the offending. As Andrew Norfolk told us

The far right leapt on the story, predictably, and [Ann Cryer] was accused of demonising all Muslims. I think that it almost acted as a brake for several years on anybody seriously looking at whether there was any truth in what she was saying but, as the years passed, I noticed cases cropping up from time to time across Yorkshire and Lancashire with a very similar pattern.

Amendment proposed, in line 9, after "perception", to insert "which we believe to be false".—(Mr David Winnick.)

Question put, that the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.

      Ayes, 1      Noes, 4

      Mr David Winnick  Michael Ellis

            Lorraine Fullbrook

            Steve McCabe

            Mark Reckless

Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 109 to 130 read and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Second Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 134.

Written evidence was ordered to be reported to the House for printing with the Report (in addition to that ordered to be reported for publishing on 16 and 31 October, 13, 20 and 27 November, and 11 December 2012, 15 January, and 16, 18 and 23 April 2013.

[Adjourned till Tuesday 11 June at 2.30 p.m.

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Prepared 10 June 2013