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Children's tsar says inquiry could help stop abuse

Sue Berelowitz, the deputy Children's Commissioner, said that Britain needed to "get to the bottom" of child abuse as the commission embarks on the new inquiry.

"We need to stop the abuse and work very hard to do that, so for all kinds of reasons we have got to get to the bottom of what's going on," she told Good Morning Britain.

'Many of us will be disturbed' at scale of child abuse

The Children's Commissioner has said the public will be shocked at both the scale of family child sex abuse and the way in which victims are treated.

Dame Maggie Atkinson has ordered a two-year national review of chid sex abuse within family environments, including arising from forced marriages.

"Society is rightly horrified by child sexual abuse," Dame Maggie said.

"Most of our children are raised in secure, loving homes but I am sure very many of us will be disturbed by how much abuse within the family environment goes unreported and how little is done to support the children who suffer," she added.

Read: New national inquiry into child sex abuse in families

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New national inquiry into child sex abuse in families

The Children's Commissioner is launching a new two-year nationwide inquiry into child sex abuse in families.

The inquiry will particularly look at the issue of forced marriage, since this is thought to often lead to abuse.

Among the questions examined will be how widespread the problem is, how to support victims and how to prevent abuse.

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

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".

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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

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.

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