'Thousands of children' abused

Thousands of children each year are being sexually exploited by gangs and groups in England, according to a report by the Office of the Children's Commissioner.

If you are affected by any of these issues, call ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Warsi: Political correctness could 'distort' report findings

The senior foreign minister Baroness Warsi has said she is concerned that political correctness could lead to statistics on the sexual abuse of children being distorted.

It follows concerns that today's report by the Children's Commissioner was not explicit enough in highlighting the ethnicity of perpetrators of sexual crimes.

She said: "If the victim takes us to a perpetrator who is white, black, brown, of whatever religion background, then we must investigate that fully".

Report: Abusers use catalogue to choose children

One of the case studies highlighted in a report on the sexual exploitation of children in gangs and groups describes a business providing children for wealthy clients to abuse at parties.

It even describes a catalogue featuring photographs and the ages of children for abusers to choose their victims. Here are some of the details from 12-year-old Teegan's case:

  • She was taken by a man to a series of "mansions" where she was raped by multiple men
  • The men paid up to £500 for an hour with her
  • Groomers would form 'relationships with vulnerable children on the street before passing them on to the men who ran the business

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Report criticised for downplaying role of 'Asian abusers'

A report on sexual exploitation of children by gangs and groups has been criticised for failing to highlight the number of perpetrators identified as 'Asian'.

The Times (£) reports that the Education Secretary Michael Gove believes the report has "played down the role of groups of Asian abusers".

It also quotes a former Labour MP as saying it is wrong to ignore a statistic that is “staring us in the face”.

The Daily Mail quotes the Tory MP Margot James as saying: "There is a specific problem in certain Asian communities ... in too many cities to ignore the phenomenon."

The report says that ethnic data on perpetrators is "considerably less reliable than that supplied on age or gender" and that the data is "weighted in favour of those areas and agencies that were able to identify perpetrators".

Deputy Children's Commissioner denies report is hysterical

The Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz has countered criticism of her report on child sexual exploitation describing it as "calm" and "measured".

Responding to accusations that the report was "hysterical", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that she had left out the most harrowing details.

She also said there was a risk of too much attention being given to high-profile cases involving Pakistani men.

She said this was just one of many models of exploitation and that data on the ethnicity of perpetrators only exists in six out of 10 cases.

Sixteen-year-old 'passed around' at boyfriend's parties

One of the case studies highlighted in a report on the sexual exploitation of children in gangs and groups is that of 16-year-old Marina.

  • Marina was regularly sexually exploited by local white shop owners in exchange for alcohol and cigarettes
  • Her 14-year-old sister was also frequently abused
  • She was driven to parties where she would be raped by multiple party-goers
  • She also reported going to parties at her older "boyfriend's" house where she was passed around his friends

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Play therapy to help abused children

Barnardo's children's charity runs projects and schemes across the country supporting children, young people and families where abuse has happened.

Play therapy is used by Barnados to help staff spot if children are being abused Credit: Daybreak / Katy Fawcett

These may offer therapy and counselling to help children come to terms with what has happened to them and move forward in life, and offer support to non-abusing parents to help them protect their children in future.

The figures on sexual abuse in gangs and groups

These are some of the figures from the Office of the Children's Commissioner's report into sexual exploitation of children in gangs and groups:

  • 2,409 confirmed victims in the 14 months to October 2011
  • Of these, 28% from black and ethnic minority backgrounds
  • 16,500 at "high risk" of sexual exploitation in the 11 months to March 2011
  • Of the 1,500+ alleged perpetrators, about a third were white - the largest ethnic group
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