Political analysts and children’s groups have criticized British Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s comments that British-Pakistani men “maintain cultural traditions at odds with British ideals” as “inflammatory” and comparable to starting “race wars.”
When discussing strategies to combat child sexual assault in a Sky News interview, Ms. Braverman drew criticism for referring to “the predominance of British-Pakistani males who have cultural views absolutely at war with British values.”
“[British-Pakistani men] see women in a demeaned, illegitimate way, and pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach to the way we behave,” Ms. Braverman said after learning that a Home Office report in 2020 concluded that most child sexual abuse gangs are made up of white men under the age of 30 and that there was insufficient evidence to suggest grooming gang members were disproportionately Asian or black.
Instead, Ms. Braverman cited reports from Rotherham, which was rocked by a child sexual exploitation scandal in which five British-Pakistani men were convicted of grooming, raping, and exploiting young girls.
Braverman’s remarks have the potential to spark “race wars.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is expected to announce new measures to combat sexual violence against children, said the crackdown on grooming gangs would defy “political correctness.” He did not, however, repeat Ms. Braverman’s remarks about Pakistanis.
The government has promised that experienced specialist officers and National Crime Agency members will assist police forces in their investigations into cases of child sexual abuse.
West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said on a Sky News show following Ms. Braverman, “It feels very dog whistle, if I may say, and it doesn’t deal with what is happening on the ground.”
Adil Ray, a British actor, and presenter was among many who pointed out that, according to a 2020 Home Office report, the majority of perpetrators are white. At the time, Braverman was the Attorney General [it was published]. “
“Despite heavy competition, and despite her own ethnicity, Suella Braverman may be the most bigoted, cynical, and dangerous politician to emerge from the modern UK Conservative Party in many decades,” British-American political commentator Mehdi Hasan tweeted. This is vile and dishonest behavior.”
Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal, too, drew attention to the disproportionate number of white male perpetrators in child sexual abuse case data.
“Suella Braverman is aware that 84% of child sex offenders are white British, but she chooses to focus on those who are not,” he wrote on Facebook.
“The suspicion remains that the Tories have latched upon the grooming gangs’ issue again in order to create controversy, rile up voters in the Midlands and north of England, and demonstrate they are the party willing to say the “unsayable,” wrote a journalist Adam Forrest in a column titled “Is Sunak’s grooming gangs’ crackdown just ‘dog whistle’ politics?”
Sir Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said the government’s emphasis on combating such crimes was welcome, but race should not be the focus.
“Child sexual exploitation by organized networks is a particularly heinous form of abuse, and it’s encouraging to see the government focusing on disrupting perpetrators and protecting victims.” This must be accompanied by funding for services to assist child victims in their recovery, as well as support for a justice system that is struggling to keep up.
“It’s also important to remember that any child can be a victim of child sexual exploitation, and adult perpetrators come from a variety of backgrounds.” Sexual predators will target society’s most vulnerable and accessible children, and we must focus on more than race to avoid creating new blind spots that prevent victims from being identified.”
Sabah Kaiser, an ethnic minority ambassador to Professor Alexis Jay’s independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, who investigated child abuse in Rotherham, said it was “very, very dangerous” for the government to make child sexual abuse a matter of color.
“Child sexual abuse does not have a skin color or a religion. It is devoid of culture. Child sexual abuse knows no bounds. As a result, it is critical that we as a nation have a unified societal response to this issue,” she said on BBC 4’s Today.
“It is critical that we do not turn this extremely important issue into a color issue.” Because, let’s be honest, that gets headlines, but it’s not helpful for this topic.”