Friday 23 November 2012

Reporting on child sexual abuse

The Children’s Commissioner’s report "I thought I was the only one" on child sexual exploitation mentions perpetrators’ ethnicities, but without saying whether the numbers were more or less as predicted from the Census. In fact, the Commission’s own figures show that only half the predicted number of White perpetrators were actually found (43% versus 88%), twice the number of “mixed” ethnicity (3.8% versus 1.8%), almost 5 times the number of Asians (33% versus 6.7%) and almost 7 times the numbers of Blacks (19% versus 2.8%).

As regards the broader question of the national extent of sexual exploitation, the headline annual figure of 16,500 victims is not case-based, but is inferred from signs of disturbed behaviour, which of course may be due to factors other than sexual exploitation. It is no more than a tentative indication, and it would be unwise to base decisions on methods which lack detail and require peer review.

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