The shocking scale of UK child abuse has been laid bare by an expert – as hopes of an effective Government inquiry suffered another blow.
Youngsters are being groomed in “every town” but police lack the skills to deal with it, said Fleur Strong, director of charity Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation.
She added: “I can show you families from Torquay to Exeter to Norfolk, there are families in Edinburgh, Belfast, all suffering from this crime.”
Of course, we've known that for months, at least. What we don't know, but suspect, is if Pakistanis are behind almost all of it, and if so, what should the consequence be - ad hoc prison time, or is there a more comprehensive way of dealing with it?
Paedophile rings in Rotherham, Oxford and Rochdale have been exposed, leading to more victims coming forward.
Detective Superintendent Paul Sanford, of the National Child Protection working group, said: “Child sexual abuse has been hidden for too long and, certainly in recent months, that picture has changed.
“It takes place in all communities, urban, rural, small and large. There isn’t a community not potentially affected.”
The Inquiry that Isn't
The warnings came as retired High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss said she did not know if the Government’s stalled inquiry into historical sex abuse by establishment figures would ever start.
Home Secretary Theresa May is poised to axe the panel and begin again – but Lady Butler-Sloss said abuse victims’ influence on the inquiry should be limited.
She added: “There has to be a victim voice on the panel, but victims should not be running the panel or be the chairman.”
|Fiona Woolf awarded an DBE|
She was the second chair forced to resign from leading the inquiry because of her connections.
Lady Butler-Sloss, a guest editing BBC Radio’ 4’s Today show, claimed the role of inquiry chair was “very disagreeable” but condemned the Home Office for failing to carry out sufficient due diligence checks on Ms Woolf. Did they actually carry out any due diligence? I'm not sure 'due diligence' fits in with Theresa May's style of leadership.