A “disproportionate number” of Pakistani men have been involved in sexually abusing children in Britain’s second largest city, according to a new report.
The study by Stephen Rimmer for Birmingham City Council found nearly 500 children had been identified as having been sexually exploited, or were at risk of sexual exploitation, in the space of just six months.
The report said: “Suspects are from a wide range of backgrounds, but there are disproportionate numbers from an Asian Pakistani background suspected of abuse and exploitation on the streets; and primarily white male suspects in relation to online offending.”
The vast majority of victims – 87 percent – were female, and 54 percent were white. Meanwhile, 92 percent of offenders were male, with an average age of 27.
The report added: “The most common background for online predators remains white young and middle-aged males. Offenders investigated for predominantly on-street activity are disproportionately but by no means exclusively males of Asian-Pakistani origin.”
“The common factor across all perpetrators is their manipulative and abusive attitudes and behaviours.
“We need to work with schools, faith groups, communities, parents and young people themselves to address any factors which might generate unacceptable attitudes within any ethnic group. We will continue working closely with those neighbourhood bodies which recognise the risks of such cultural attitudes within some men and boys in their own communities and are ready to challenge such attitudes.”
The report said that victims were frequently trafficked to other areas of the country including London, Manchester, Suffolk and North Wales. Many incidents of abuse involved multiple victims and often took place in private homes, hotel rooms and parks. “Those living in children’s home are frequently targeted too,” the report added.
There may also be even more victims than the 488 children already identified due to many victims feeling too scared to come forward.
“We believe the number of victims over the first six months of last year is still a significant underestimate of the true scale of the problem in our region.
“Many victims worry they will not be believed or are threatened by offenders and don’t feel able to seek help. Many victims of grooming do not see themselves as victims of abuse as they have been so significantly manipulated by the perpetrators.”
Speaking on behalf of local authorities within the West Midlands, Solihull’s Chief Executive Nick Page said: “Today’s assessment describing our collective work to tackle the perpetrators of Child Sexual Exploitation and protect children and young people is an important staging post. We have moved some way from having a collective will to now having some tangible evidence of our impact.
“However we cannot be complacent in any way. The perpetrators of this horrendous abuse are, whilst evil, very adept at disguising their activity. As the statutory agencies our duty, responsibility and purpose to protect children and young people is crystal clear. Working together with our communities and partners across the West Midlands has to be the way to go. So we can say today that some progress is being made, whilst being clear there is so much more we must do. ”