Grooming Gang Survivor Proposes New Definition | Dr. Ella Hill
New ‘Grooming Gang Crime’ Definition (updated 16th January 2021):
“Grooming Gang Crimes are sexual crimes carried out in networks or groups, that are perceived to be motivated by hostility towards someone’s perceived race and (or) religion or lack of religion. They are a subtype of ‘Group-based Child Sexual Exploitation’. They are sexual offences that are a form of Identity-based Violence and a form of Abuse linked to Faith or Belief.”
White girls have been the victims of some of the worst racist attacks in the UK over the past thirty years. The Law should uphold the rights of victims of Child Sexual Exploitation to be protected from racially and religiously-aggravated sexual crimes. The Law should protect the rights of people from all identity groups.
In 2019 the Public asked The Home Office to produce a ‘Grooming Gangs Review’, to find out what they knew about characteristics of offenders. Instead, in December 2020, The Home Office published a Review called ‘Group-Based Child Sexual Exploitation – Characteristics of Offending’.
This is not the same thing: ‘Grooming Gang Crime’ is a smaller subtype of ‘Group-Based Child Sexual Exploitation’. Data from the two groups is different.
Unfortunately, the Review did not make this distinction clear to the Public, professionals, Researchers and Policymakers. The Review defines ‘Grooming’ and ‘Gangs’ but not ‘Grooming Gangs’. The lack of an agreed definition of the term ‘Grooming Gang Crime’ has led to an unnecessary amount of conflict and confusion over the interpretation of the data on these two disparate issues.
There is no doubt that many sexual violence victims perceive that the crimes committed against them are motivated by hostility towards their perceived race and/or religion or lack of religion. The Review describes this as ‘othering’ and due to ‘cultural factors’, but this is the wrong terminology. Victims say that they are attacked because of their perceived ‘Whiteness/Western-ness’ or ‘lack of Muslimness’, and so ‘Grooming Gang Crimes’ are racially and religiously-aggravated crimes. It only makes sense that sentencing should reflect this.
However, many ‘Grooming Gang’ victims feel that their experiences are ignored by authorities because they are not in a ‘protected identity group’. The problem has been exacerbated by educators working within the field of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), who wrongly teach that, “White people cannot be victims of racism,” which is legally incorrect. The well-intentioned desire to protect Muslims has led to a dangerous denial of anti-white anti-Western racism, and religiously-aggravated crimes. This has led to an institutional bias against white and non-Muslim victims of Group-Based CSE.
Of course, when talking about Grooming Gangs, we must caution against any kind of religious, racist or political extremism. But not every right-wing person is a racist or wants the ‘freedom of speech’ to be ‘grossly offensive’ towards someone because of their racial or religious identity. Not every left-wing person wants to smash and destroy all white people and religious people; and not every person from a faith community wants to punish and rape people who don’t follow their beliefs.
Reasonable people from the right, the left and the ‘up above’ faith communities need to come together to agree an official definition.
Reasonable people from the right don’t want all immigrants and all people from BAME backgrounds to be attacked/deported; they certainly don’t want all white perpetrators to be let off the hook. And they do not want ‘free speech’ just so they can be ‘grossly offensive’ to people with different ‘protected characteristics’.
Reasonable people on ‘the left’ don’t say that ‘race and religion is irrelevant’ to people who have been racially and religiously abused. They don’t insult or accuse victims of “sensationalising” or “racialising” their own abuse. They don’t tell them to “keep their mouths shut for the sake of diversity”.
Reasonable people from ‘up above’ faith communities don’t accuse people of being an ‘enemy of the faith’, just because they oppose ‘faith-based abuse’. They don’t call everyone who wants to stop Grooming Gangs “evil Nazis” or “coconuts”.
People on all sides must have safe discussions about all types of Group-Based CSE, including Grooming Gang Crime. They must be protected from verbal abuse, name-calling, bullying and threat of violence when they do this.
Reasonable people want ‘Group-Based CSE’ discussed in an inclusive way that doesn’t stereotype certain faith groups, and doesn’t neglect the other victims of sexual crime, who have not experienced racially or religiously-aggravated crime. And they want the subtype of ‘Grooming Gang Crime’ to be dealt with in a respectful way that neither discriminates against minority groups, nor against majority groups. They acknowledge that racist abuse against white people and the West, is bad.
Reasonable people want ‘Grooming Gang Crime’ to be dealt with in a way that doesn’t cause humiliation or ridicule of people from faith communities. But they do not want ‘the word of God’ to be used as a tool of control to abuse and exploit others. They want to oppose the ‘false teachings’ that religious offenders use to justify their crimes.
It is very likely that in the future there will eventually be a formal acknowledgement from the Home Office that racist and faith-based abuse does occur in Group-Based CSE. Therefore, this new definition of Grooming Gang Crime will be needed.
However, there are three very important reasons why the new definition must be adopted now:
- Firstly, the general Public need a consensus on what Grooming Gang Crime is (compared to Group-Based CSE) in order to de-escalate the political, personal and extremist conflict around these disparate issues.
- Secondly, Police and Prosecutors need a national specialist approach towards Grooming Gang Crime. This is because of the specialist challenges including language barriers, links to the drugs trade, firearms trade, Honour-based violence, religious extremism and international terrorism.
- Finally, Researchers, Counter-Extremism teams, faith-leaders and Policy-makers need this agreed definition for future research, counter-extremism work, and Policy decisions. Characteristics of offending and ‘Grooming Gang Ideologies’ need to be understood.
The new definition of ‘Grooming Gang Crime’ is not offensive or extreme; it does not make any claims about the race or ethnicity of perpetrators. For example, it would include white British, Pakistani, Afghan, Iraqi and Somali perpetrators.
It frames Grooming Gang Crime as an ‘Identity-based Sexual Violence Problem’. A way forward might be to include looking at existing Government guidelines on ‘Child abuse linked to faith and belief’, ‘Honour-based violence’ and ‘Countering Extremism.’
It is time for the Government, Parliament, religious leaders, and all local authorities to accept this definition. This is only fair, given the attention that the authorities already give to other ‘protected’ identity groups vulnerable to attack.
I’m sure this is something that caring, reasonable people from all backgrounds can all get behind and support.
Dr Ella Hill is a pseudonym. She is a Rotherham Grooming Gang Survivor.
The ‘Grooming Gangs Review’ Petition, and the Call for a ‘Public Inquiry into Grooming Gangs’ Petition are both due to be debated live in Parliament on Monday 18 January at 4:30pm. You can sign the petition here.