Tim Dieppe, head of public policy at Christian Concern, discusses the government’s response to Baroness Cox’s question to the House of Lords about helping victims of sex-grooming, such as in the case of ‘Sarah’, who is currently being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
Earlier in September, we asked you to pray for ‘Sarah’ (not her real name), a victim of an Islamic sex-grooming gang who the Christian Legal Centre is currently supporting. Now, Baroness Cox has questioned the House of Lords about what the government is doing to protect victims of Islamic grooming gangs, giving specific reference to Sarah’s case which she described as just “the tip of the iceberg”. Baroness Cox’s question read:
“To ask HMG whether they are aware of the case of Sarah who was held captive by a grooming gang for 12 years as reported in the Daily Mail on 15 September, and if so, what assessment they have made of that case and its implications.”
Baroness Cox asked what policies the government had to support these victims and how many criminals had been prosecuted. She said that Sarah was just victim and that, no doubt, “countless girls” have suffered similar ordeals throughout the country.
Sarah’s story, reported in the Daily Mail in September, told of how she was kidnapped by a Muslim gang at the age of 15 and spent the next 12 years as a sex-slave. During this time, she was repeatedly raped and beaten, forced into three sharia marriages, and had eight involuntary abortions. She was also forced to learn the Qur’an and wear Islamic dress.
Lack of specific government support
Responding on behalf of the government, Baroness Manzoor said she could not comment on specific cases while police investigations were ongoing but said that the reports of Sarah’s case were “truly shocking”. She added, in a somewhat non-committal answer, that the government was “committed to eliminating child sexual abuse and exploitation in all its forms”, though most of Sarah’s abuse occurred while she was an adult.
Baroness Cox followed up with a question detailing more of Sarah’s ordeal and asked what help is available for such victims.
Baroness Manzoor replied in general terms about sexual violence support services and victim support services. She also discussed convictions for child abduction and rape offences against adults and children.
You can read the debate in Hansard or watch it online.
Denial of the Islamic connection
It was good to hear some members of the House of Lords asking about hinderance from “cultural sensitivities”, highlighting that “many perpetrators of this shocking crime come from ethnic communities”. However, despite admitting that “cultural sensitivities must not get in the way of preventing and uncovering child abuse”, Baroness Manzoor seemed determined to deny any cultural or ethnic issue in her answers, saying “child sexual exploitation is not exclusive to any single culture, community, race or religion”. When asked about the ethnic background of the perpetrators she said: “the issue is the vulnerability of people, rather than race or community”.
In fact, the Islamic connection is very strong, as I highlighted in an article earlier this year: “Sacrificing girls to political correctness.” The latest statistics for convictions show that 283/325 rape gang convictions are of people with Islamic names, and therefore with Islamic heritage and most likely self-identifying as Muslim. This means 87% of the convictions are Muslims, compared with only 5% of the population being Muslim. Mathematically this means that a Muslim man is some 127 times more likely to be convicted as part of a grooming gang than a non-Muslim. My previous article outlined the justification for sex slaves from the Qur’an.
In the case of Sarah, the Islamic connection is demonstrated by the sharia marriages, enforced memorisation of the Qur’an, and compulsory wearing of Islamic dress.
Registration of religious marriages would help
Viscount Bridgeman referred to the fact that Sarah had three sharia marriages and asked:
“Does not this highlight the uncontrolled actions of many sharia courts and, once again, the need for legislation to require that all marriages in the United Kingdom be formally registered under the law of the respective Administrations?”
He is quite right to raise this point. Baroness Cox has a bill in parliament which proposes to enforce registration of Islamic marriages. This is intended primarily to protect the many Muslim women who have had a sharia marriage which they thought was registered, only to find that they have no legal protection if their husband dies or divorces them. This bill would also help to protect people like Sarah whose abusers wanted to go through sharia marriages with her.
Removal of children adds to the abuse
Baroness Finlay argued that countless cases could be missed because many young women may not want to come forward to report sexual abuse for fear of their children being taken away or being put at further risk by sex-grooming gangs. She said:
“My Lords, do the Government recognise that separating children from a woman who has had the courage to come forward could act as a disincentive to other women to come forward? It is a major step. These children may, as they grow up, become vulnerable to abuse because they have not had security. We may need to rethink the way we manage support for families—with, for example, proxy support grandparents—to help the mother who has been traumatised bring up her children so that they are not as vulnerable as she was.”
This would be deeply traumatic and devastating. It adds trauma to trauma. More support needs to be provided for victims so that they can look after any children resulting from the abuse.
However, Baroness Manzoor did not further address this question, stating simply that protecting vulnerable children “is key in this government’s strategy”.
Alan Craig has made an attempt to estimate the total number of victims of these rape gangs which have been operating for over 40 years across the country. Extrapolating from the number of known victims in various towns, and taking a relatively conservative extrapolation, he estimates that there are now at least a quarter of a million (250,000) victims of these Islamic rape gangs across the UK.
As Craig says, this is “the worst social crime for 200 years”. It is high time that specific measures were taken to tackle these gangs and specific support is set up to help the thousands of victims as they struggle to settle into normal life.
Following 12 years in slavery since the age of 15, Sarah now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and “episodes of poor emotional presentation”.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, has said that “Sarah’s story raises questions about what support and help is being provided to the many thousands of victims of these Islamic grooming gangs … Often police and social services turned a blind eye to these offences and these people should be held to account … Girls should be protected from these gangs, and where society has failed to protect them, the government should compensate and help them to recover from the ordeal they have been through.”
We hope that the government will soon start to recognise this need and that Baroness Cox’s bill will also obtain the support of the government.