County MP to lead new investigation into child sex abuse - The Evesham Observer

County MP to lead new investigation into child sex abuse

Evesham Editorial 2nd Jun, 2020   0

WORCESTERSHIRE MP and former Home Secretary Sajid Javid is to lead a rigorous new investigation into the emerging catastrophe of child sex abuse (CSA) in the UK.

The former Home Secretary warned that the coronavirus-induced lockdown had created a “perfect storm” for many children isolated with their abusers, often members of their own families.

In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Javid foresaw a “surge” in CSA that would only become apparent later in the year. Drawing on his ministerial experience, he said that even before Covid-19 struck, Britain was experiencing an “epidemic” of sex crimes against children.

Working in partnership with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Mr Javid is intent on exposing not just the extent of child sex abuse and exploitation in the country, but the general characteristics of the offenders and victims, together with recommendations for decisive action to turn the tide.

He also made clear that he would not let accusations of racism deter the inquiry from probing outrages such as the Rochdale and Rotherham grooming scandals in which gangs of men of predominantly Asian background targeted vulnerable young white girls.

The former Home Secretary said: “The seriousness of this crime demands that difficult questions are asked. It is a source of great sadness and anger for me that in recent high-profile cases of group-based CSE, the men convicted have been disproportionately of Pakistani heritage.

“In weighing the significance of this, our investigation will not allow cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem, nor will it limit our understanding of who the perpetrators are and how this crime often goes undetected. We will follow the evidence, regardless of how uncomfortable the outcome.”

He also revealed that when he took over the Home Office in 2018, he was shocked to discover the “full horror” of CSA, with the National Crime Agency now estimating that there are at least 300,000 people in the UK who pose a sexual threat to children. Referrals of child abuse images from industry alone are up 1000 per cent since 2013 and evidence suggested that one in six children are sexually abused.

Mr Javid added that the threat to children continued to escalate and evolve at pace. That was why he had decided to join forces with the CSJ to launch an extensive, no holds barred investigation into child sexual abuse and exploitation in the UK.

In concert with the think tank set up by former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Cabinet minister promised to ‘endeavour to improve our understanding of who perpetrators typically are, and how they came to be paedophiles’, ‘examine the changing patterns of offending, and establish which children are most vulnerable’ and ‘make concrete policy recommendations, and seek to arm the Government with ideas capable of turning the tide’.

In the year ending March 2019, the police in England and Wales recorded 73,260 sexual offences where there are data to identify the victim was a child.

In the new inquiry, the CSJ proposes to achieve a number of key aims such as reviewing existing data and undertaking new research (such as identifying how many on-going investigations there are); assessing the current rate of offending; investigating the characteristics of these offenders and assessing the number of likely victims to date.

Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the CSJ, said:

“We welcome Mr Javid’s support at a time when over one in six British children are facing the sickening threat of sexual abuse. It is highly courageous of him to speak out on the issue, which has been difficult to confront and too often neglected.

“As the CSJ investigation into child sex abuse and exploitation starts, we hope to contribute immensely to public knowledge on this sickening practice, as well as formulating steps to end the abuse epidemic.

The inquiry will examine CSA and child sexual exploitation (CSE), a subset of CSA, popularly known as ‘grooming’ vulnerable children for sexual purposes.

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