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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual exploitation by organised networks Investigation Report

Contents

H.4: Failures to record victim and perpetrator ethnicity

8. There were widespread failures to record data about the ethnicity of both perpetrators and victims in the case study areas:

  • in Durham, data provided for 2018/19 showed that ethnicity was not recorded for suspects in 35 percent of 1,900 cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation, and for 14 percent of 1,138 victims separate figures for sexual exploitation were not provided;[1]
  • in Swansea, across the South Wales Police area, less than half of the 56 incidents of child sexual exploitation in 2018/19 recorded the victim’s ethnicity;[2]
  • in the Warwickshire 2019 profile, the ethnicity of over 40 percent of 137 perpetrators and over 50 percent of 162 victims of child sexual exploitation was unknown;[3]
  • in St Helens, Merseyside Police noted that, between April 2017 and March 2019, 41 percent of 435 victims and 28 percent of 217 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse and exploitation did not provide their ethnicity; separate figures for sexual exploitation were not provided;[4]
  • in the Tower Hamlets 2019 profile, ethnicity was not recorded for 86 percent of offenders involved in 147 reports of child sexual exploitation and 14 percent of 166 victims of child sexual exploitation in the Central East Area BCU;[5] and
  • in Bristol, the ethnicity of 28 percent of 137 suspects and 19 percent of 474 children at risk of child sexual exploitation was unknown or unrecorded.[6]

9. Internal research by Avon and Somerset Police in 2020 highlighted that:

  • some of its systems did not make it easy to record ethnicity;
  • it was sometimes not clear who is responsible for recording ethnicity;
  • there was some lack of knowledge about how to record ethnicity and why it is important; and
  • some officers were not confident in asking members of the public to define their ethnicity.[7]

10. As set out in Part B, collating accurate and reliable data on the ethnicity of victims and perpetrators has long been recognised as an important exercise. The failures to do so in the case study areas mean that the police and other agencies in those areas are unable to identify local patterns and trends of child sexual exploitation in respect of ethnicity. This is compounded by the subsuming of data about child sexual exploitation victims and perpetrators within the wider category of child sexual abuse and exploitation, detrimentally affecting the quality of data that is produced and so the adequacy of the response by institutions, including to children who have already been abused.

References

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