Answers to Questions posed by Kenan Malik writing for The Observer

10th November 2018

1 The report seeks to investigate ‘“grooming gang” offences’, ‘group-based localised street grooming of young girls’ and ‘all group child-sex offences but there is no legal offence of ‘grooming gang’

Please refer to pg.14-20 in the report, in which we further explore the definition of group-based CSE, and how we’ve employed that definition in the report.

You are correct in saying there is no direct legal offence defined as being part of a ‘grooming gang’. However, it is a term which is in common usage. We enclose, as an example, an MP using this term.

2 There is no clarification of where the data for the convictions in the report comes from, how the data was selected (or rejected) and how the ethnicity of the offender was identified.

Data was gathered through extensive data mining methods, surveying previous studies on this subject matter, publicly available police records, news clippings, etc. Offender ethnicity was only recognised when this fact was clearly established and identified in the source material. We note this caveat on pg.16:

“Due to the significant lack of public information available regarding court cases involving child sexual offences, the collated data within this report should not be seen as a comprehensive collection of all grooming gang cases in the UK. Further, many of the cases found were incomplete and had significant intelligence gaps. This was particularly apparent in information relating to offenders. In some cases, there is no information provided relating to the offenders, and only the fact that a child had been groomed and sexually exploited had been established.”

3 That you misrepresent the findings of the 2011 and 2013 CEOP studies, that CEOP does not define the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 offences as you do and that you fail to mention the caveats about ethnicity in the CEOP reports: ‘We do not draw national conclusions about ethnicity from the data available at this time because it is too inconsistent… In relation to ethnicity, the data was often recorded to a particularly poor standard at the point of capture.’

The definitions for Type 1 and Type 2 group-based CSE offences have been extracted from the CEOP report exactly as they appear. Please see pg.19 of 2013 CEOP report & pg.20-21 of our report to compare the definitions.

We have repeatedly mentioned caveats regarding ethnicity data collection. Please see above quote in Q2 from pg.16. We also note this on pg.20:

“It is worth noting that, while indicative of larger patterns, any data collected independently will always be incomplete due to imprecise ethnicity descriptors and lack of publicly available official records. We should therefore be wary of making blanket statements and drawing too many conclusions, whilst at the same time, we must acknowledge that, while the data is limited, certain undeniable patterns surrounding group-based CSE offenders have emerged.”

We also note on pg.33:

“Thus, to say that the Asian population living in the UK has a CSE problem, or even that the British Pakistani community has a CSE problem is wholly inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the facts. It is more correct to say that there is strain of Asian men, mostly confined to towns and cities in the North of England, that have developed an unfortunately successful method of identifying and grooming young, vulnerable girls to engage in sexual activity with them, whilst their control over their victim’s emotional and mental wellbeing ensures there is minimal risk of being reported on or caught.”

Please also see repeated references to incomplete data:

1-

2-

3-

4 That the claim that according to the CEOP reports ‘Asians were most likely to commit CSE offences in groups’ is not to be found in the CEOP report

Please see the footnote next to that sentence which quotes Helen Brayley and Ella Cockbain’s study at UCL, in which you’ll find under the ‘Analysis’ section:

“In the largest study of community-based CSE to date, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) found that almost one in three of all offenders were operating in groups. Nationwide, CEOP identified 230 such groups, primarily duos and trios.  Yet one in ten groups had seven or more offenders. As with most crime, the groups were largely ethnically similar. The most common single ethnicity group was Asian. When all suspects (group and solo offenders) were considered, 49% were white, 46% Asian, and 5% black.”

5 That when you write that ‘We identified 264 convictions for group-based CSE involving grooming tactics from 2005 to 2017’ and that of those 264 convictions there were ‘18 white offenders’ you miss out dozens of cases involving white perpetrators.

We refer you to our definition of ‘grooming gang’ which is discussed on pg.14-20. We also refer you to the quote in Q3 from pg.20 of the report.

6 That you write that ‘The report recognises there to be a disproportionate representation of males with ‘Asian’ heritage who have been convicted in such cases’, and that ‘Most of these men are of Pakistani (Muslim) origin’ but there is no evidence in the report that most offenders are Pakistani, or Muslim.

Please see pg.33-36 on discussion surrounding Asian population.

According to the 2011 census, 91% of British Pakistanis identify as Muslim.

7 That you suggest that the victims were chosen because they were white but the evidence from the cases suggests rather that it was because they were vulnerable, not white.

The very definition that we have used of Type 1 group-based CSE makes repeated note of vulnerability being the central factor in targeting the victim.

We have not suggested that Type 1 group-based CSE offenders choose victims based on skin colour, but that all victims who have come forward so far have been white and that this could be an indication that they are seen as more ‘vulnerable’ than girls of other ethnicities. We then go on to discuss contextual data surrounding this glaring race dynamic on pg.30-33, concluding that:

“All of this contextual data indicates that white girls are targeted because they are seen as easy targets that are open to sexual relationships with a little persuasion. This is further reinforced by divisive, unevolved cultural identities that psychologically pit ethnic communities against one another so that girls from within the Asian community are seen as commodities to be ‘protected’, whereas girls from outside of the community are seen as fair game.”

We also note in footnote 36 on pg.30:

“It is important to note here that while all of the victims who have come forward so far and revealed their identity have been white, other potential victims, for example those of Asian ethnicity, may hesitate to recount similar experiences due to taboos around sex, family honour, and cultural shame; and their stories may therefore never come to light.”

 

For further general background, do read this article by Rotherham Grooming Gang survivor, Ella Hill.

“As a Rotherham grooming gang survivor, I want people to know about the religious extremism which inspired my abusers”

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/rotherham-grooming-gang-sexual-abuse-muslim-islamist-racism-white-girls-religious-extremism-a8261831.html