Lifestyle & Belief

Inquiry finds thousands of children in England at risk of rape and exploitation by gangs


A man pushes a child's buggy through shafts of dappled light in Walpole Park in Ealing on November 11, 2012 in London, United Kingdom.


Jim Dyson

Thousands of children — or 45 a day — are at risk of rape, violence and sexual abuse by gangs and groups in England each year, according to a report. 

An inquiry into child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups, by Office of the Children's Commissioner, found that 2,409 children had been sexually exploited from August 2010 to October 2011.

However, the real figure was likely to be "far greater" because of confusion in reporting sexual exploitation, the two-year government-ordered inquiry found.

Police officers and health professionals too often regarded at-risk teenagers as complicit in their own abuse, it found, according to the Guardian.

The "shocking reality" was thousands of English children were raped and exploited by gangs, often in organized "parties," and the system failed to protect them.

The Children's Commissioner's report — titled "I thought I was the only one" — also found that it was "rare to identify cases of child sexual exploitation where the use of technology has not been a factor," the Independent reported.

Pornography was another factor contributing to much of the abuse, the report found.

The BBC noted  that the report came after nine Asian men were jailed in May for sexually exploiting white girls as young as 13 in Manchester

However, deputy children's commissioner Sue Berelowitz said, perpetrators "come from all ethnic groups and so do their victims."

Berelowitz said the "model" of Asian men preying on white girls was just one of "a number" found by the inquiry. 

"It is time for everybody to wake up," she said.

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