IPSO’s grooming gangs mix-up

Oct 3, 2023 by

by Charlie Peters, Artillery Row:

A 2020 report continues to dampen the truth on Britain’s worst sex abuse scandal.

The Home Secretary’s claim in the Mail on Sunday that grooming gangs were “almost all British-Pakistani” was false, said the Guardian. IPSO, the press regulator, had “forced” the Mail on Sunday to correct Suella Braverman’s column on the issue.

The judgement by IPSO was the result of a complaint by the Centre for Media Monitoring, which is run by the Muslim Council of Britain. They were so pleased that they also put out a lengthy Twitter thread — in which they called me an “activist journalist” — and published a report. But if you look up the Ipso ruling, a different story emerges.

[…]  A source close to Ms Braverman told me: “The Home Secretary referred to the ‘grooming gangs phenomenon’ such as the high profile cases in Rochdale, Rotherham and Telford. Independent reports found that British-Pakistani men predominated among the perpetrators. She did not refer to all group-based child sexual abuse. It’s a perverse decision that requires a wilful misreading of the piece and is clearly a political attack, co-opting Ipso, from the Muslim Council of Britain.”

But even if we look at all group-localised CSE, a 2020 academic article which I referred to in the GB News documentary found that it was possible to show that Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular are heavily over-represented in this kind of abuse.

By comparing the number of prosecutions to the overall population, this study found that 1 in every 2,200 Muslim men over 16 in England and Wales had been prosecuted for group-localised child sex exploitation from 1997 to 2017.

When it came to Pakistanis it was 1 in 1,700. In Rochdale, 1 in 280 Muslim males over 16 were prosecuted. In Telford, it was 1 in 126. In Rotherham, it was 1 in 73.

The data we have is clear: grooming gang members in the best-examined cases were “almost-all” Pakistani and across the country they were still heavily over-represented, with the true figure only unknown because most academics and civil servants don’t particularly want to look.

This sad but important truth has been denigrated and silenced at every turn in the miserable grooming gangs story. If attempting to correct the record makes me an “activist journalist” then so be it, but media regulators should not be seen to be taking the sides of those blurring the truth on this scandal.

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