It has been claimed that some cases of sexual abuse have not been reported or taken seriously because the perpetrators were from ethnic minorities and the authorities wanted to be culturally sensitive. This is quite horrifying. Cultural sensitivity is a justification for serving lamb instead of pork. It is no reason to stand by while children are raped – and anyone who thinks that or anything close to that is themselves being racist as well as perpetuating abuse. It also undermines the thousands of hours of investigation by officers of Northumbria police and local safeguarding teams, who poured limited resources into bringing the perpetrators to justice.
But to say, as Sarah Champion did, that “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls” is either saying that Pakistanis are more likely to rape and more likely to rape white girls, or that the rape of white girls is more of a problem than the rape of, for example, white boys or brown girls. We have a huge problem with sexual violence against children and vulnerable adults. After tabloid headlines about “Muslim rapists”, one of my constituents who was himself raped as a child expressed concern that his abuse did not raise the same kind of outrage and therefore the same level of awareness.