Jack Straw’s comments scapegoat the Pakistani community for the actions of two sexual predators who preyed on vulnerable children.
Jack Straw’s comments that some Pakistani men are targeting white girls as ‘easy meat’ are indicative of his deep ignorance on the subject of child sexual abuse.
He also went on to say that these men ‘were fizzing and popping’ with testosterone, presumably meaning that if a young man is unable to attract a willing sexual partner it is entirely normal for him to go out and sexually abuse children. Not a picture most of us would recognise.
There is no statistical evidence to show that there are greater numbers or proportions of Asian men involved in child sexual exploitation than white men.
When discussing the case of Liaqat and Siddique let us not forget that the youngest victim was 12 years old; these men were sexual predators targeting children and their motivations cannot be generalised to other sections of the Pakistani population.
White men would not be happy if we took the motivations of white child sex abusers and rapists, and believed those motivations to be applicable more generally across the community.
The same day that Liaqat and Siddique’s case hit the headlines there were 3 white men sentenced in Cambourne for organised child sexual abuse. Police interviewed at least 30 victims, several children were passed between all 3 men and the youngest victim was 5 years old. I do not recall Straw calling for the white community to challenge beliefs leading to such offences.
Straw has lent weight to the EDL. The EDL demonstrated outside Nottingham Court not because they are worried about the risks to vulnerable children and young people but because they are racists.
The motivation of any adult who poses a risk to children is to target the most vulnerable. Vulnerability makes children easier to groom and less likely to tell. Children will be targeted who are previous victim of abuse, who are neglected, are trying to escape homes affected by violence, drugs and alcohol or who have learning difficulties and so on.
It would be glib to deny that the majority of the victims in the Derby case were white children. However, there are as many reasons as there are individual children as to why they were able to be groomed and why they were left vulnerable. Some of those reasons may relate to lack of extended family and community safeguards, which may be more apparent within other communities.
The key factor is not one of race or culture, but one of understanding that child sexual abusers are attracted to those children who are least protected.
The greater the level of cut backs to front line services, the greater the risk to vulnerable children. It did not take my 20 years in child protection work to understand something so basic, and it is precisely that message which Jack Straw should have understood and highlighted.
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