Matt Chorley, Daily Mail (London), November 16, 2012
A major report into child abuse will trigger controversy next week when it plays down the significance of Pakistani men targeting white girls.
It is claimed England’s deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz will avoid saying there is a specific problem, fearing it might appear politically incorrect.
The move will add to claims that the authorities have turned a blind eye to the problem.
Council officials and police were accused of failing to tackle the problem of Pakistani gangs sexually abusing young girls in Rochdale in Lancashire and Rotherham in South Yorkshire.
A Whitehall source said: ‘It’s important we don’t take a politically-correct approach and pretend there is not a real problem here.
‘Obviously abuse has been carried out by men from all sorts of ethnic background,’ the source told The Sun.
‘But that doesn’t mean we cannot say there is an issue about groups of Pakistani men systematically targeting young white girls.’
Earlier this year Ms Berelowitz was at pains to insist inquiries into abuse should not focus solely on young Pakistani men.
She told MPs that children in all communities and ethnic groups were at risk, highlighting cases in Derby, Rotherham, Birmingham and Dewsbury.
‘What I am uncovering is that sexual exploitation of children is happening all over the country,’ she told the home affairs select committee.
‘As one police officer who was the lead in a very big investigation in a very lovely, leafy, rural part of the country said to me: “There isn’t a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited.” The evidence that has come to the fore during the course of my inquiry is that that, unfortunately, appears to be the case.
‘We should start from the assumption that children are being sexually exploited right the way across the country.’
However there is growing unease in Whitehall that Ms Berelowitz’s approach will fail to place sufficient emphasis on the problem of Pakistani men targeting young white girls.
A spokesman for the deputy children’s commissioner said: ‘The report recognises that there are many different patterns of abuse and that is clearly identified in the report.
‘As the deputy commissioner has already reported, there is evidence coming in of many different kinds of perpetrators.
‘What has been in recent reports is one pattern of abuse. Our evidence shows it’s not the only pattern of abuse.’