INVITATION to a LAUNCH
MAJOR COALITION LAUNCH AGAINST ‘STREET GROOMING’
Community ALLIANCE AGAINST SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
In the aftermath of the terrible events reported in recent child sex abuse trials, leading Muslim, child protection, victim support and civil rights organisations are launching a groundbreaking, cross-community response to the problem of ‘on-street grooming by gangs’.
10th May 2013. FROM 11am-1pm
Manningham Mills Community Centre, The Silk Warehouse, Lilycroft Road, Bradford
CAASE will meet head- on the communal challenges raised by the child sexual exploitation of vulnerable young girls and women.
• Leading faith, child protection & civil rights groups to tackle ‘on-street grooming’
• Will focus on minority as well as mainstream communities, encouraging better reporting, education, zero tolerance
• Will fight anti-Muslim hatred connected to grooming cases
• Victim Support, national Muslim & grassroots community organisations all involved, plus senior faith leaders
The initiative is being supported by faith and civic leaders including the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Youth Helpline, Muslim Community Helpline, Federation of Muslim Organisations, Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), Faith Associates, the Christian Muslim Forum, City Sikhs Network, and the Church of England, plus women’s rights networks including Inspire, the Henna Foundation, and Making Herstory.
Professional guidance is being provided by Victim Support, plus STREET, which works with at-risk young people, and NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood) which specialises in support for abuse survivors.
While there is a great deal of good work focusing on child exploitation, more needs to be done against the scourge of ‘on-street grooming by gangs’. Local and national grassroots and faith organisations are often best-placed to reach out into the communities most beset by this problem.
Working across child protection services, with local authorities, schools, faith communities and the police, CAASE will develop a proactive response to the growing problem of on-street grooming, raising awareness, educating and developing community-led responses.
‘There are few crimes more horrific than the sexual exploitation of young women: these girls have been let down by everyone,‘ said Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Britain, Julie Siddiqi. ‘I have been sickened reading about these cases. There should be no excuse, no hiding place, for those who perpetrate such crimes.’
‘The evil that is abuse happens across all areas of society. This is not an issue of race or religion,’ said Nick Lowles, Chief Executive of HOPE not hate. ‘We want to encourage all our partners to help us remove the veils of secrecy and control that allow abuse to flourish. We also need to ensure that the media, and far-right groups, do not promote an anti-Muslim agenda over so-called ‘grooming’ trials either. HOPE not hate will focus on busting myths that groups such as the EDL and BNP like to promote in their quest for hate and division.’
‘This is an appalling and abhorrent kind of behaviour which is totally unacceptable regardless of race or religion,’ added Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). ‘Some of those perpetrators who have recently been convicted happen to be from the Muslim community, so we need to be at the very front of the voice that is condemning this. It is important that leaders of religious communities speak out against this deplorable and abhorrent behaviour by adults toward vulnerable children.’
CAASE ‘CALL TO ACTION’
• Zero tolerance for all abuse
• Faith and community leaders must speak out against this criminal act
• We must listen to and support those at risk, and survivors of abuse, with compassion and understanding
• Abuse is not a single-community issue and should not be used to promote hatred
For further comment, or media invite to the launch, please contact:
Twitter: #no2grooming #stopabuse #childexploitation
• Raise awareness of child sexual exploitation through education and campaigning across all communities. It will encourage reporting and promote services to help vulnerable young people.
• Produce training kits and background factsheets on the issue for faith and community leaders, so they can speak out with knowledge and confidence. It will produce myth-busting material to counter extremist groups who might attempt to exploit the issue in order to divide communities and stir up hatred.
• Develop a cross-community response, recognising that the victims and perpetrators of child sexual exploitation come from all backgrounds. An effective response requires communities to work together, whilst doing more to raise awareness of this issue within their networks.
• Promote local CAASE groups in areas where on-street grooming is currently a problem. These groups will be encouraged to raise awareness, report incidents and promote the work of child protection agencies. They will help underline a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to child sexual exploitation and develop young leaders to take the campaign into their communities.
• Create a space for dialogue and open discussion between and within local communities, to help break down misconceptions, address real issues of concern and develop more effective cross-community responses.
Sexual exploitation through street grooming can include:
• grooming a child for a sexual purpose. This might involve befriending the child, gaining their trust, giving them drugs, alcohol or gifts, asking them to perform sexual acts as a favour or in exchange for something
• the movement of children within the UK for the purpose of sexually abusing them (also referred to as internal trafficking)
• the trafficking of children into the UK from other countries for the purpose of sexually abusing them
• controlling a child through physical or psychological means or through the use of drugs for a sexual purpose
• receiving money or goods in payment for someone to have sex with a child (also referred to as child prostitution)
• paying or exchanging goods for sex with a child.