Sexual abuse is a silenced issues within ethnic groups, children who are victims of this abuse are often groomed, threatened, raped, forced or encourage to take part in sexual activity. “Over 90% of sexually abused children were abused by someone they know”. This is not always physical contact, it can happen online (NSPCC. 2016).
Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz’s interim report (2012) on ‘Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups’ found that, out of the 1,514 perpetrators establish, 545 were white, 415 were Asian and 244 were black. In recent years, there have been various reports of serious case reviews relating to sexual abuse within Black and Minority Ethnic communities. Well-known reports recorded in Rochdale and Rotherham (between 1997-2013) founded all men involved to be from ethnic groups.
In some ethnic groups, young girls are groomed by their elders of their tribe, uncles, pastors, family friends and people they trust who might have some level of authority due to gender and age difference. This power imbalance often leave young females feeling at fault. In some cases, when a young female finds the courage to speak up about their experience, they are often dismissed or labelled as a promiscuous child.
The impact of sexual abuse on victims can be long term emotional distress and trauma. This has an impact on behaviour, relationships with others, self-esteem and mental well-being (Survivors in Transition. 2017). A report by Aljazeera (2013) discussed some examples of how young females are groomed and then abused. The reports stated that, there are “various explanations for sexual exploitation but a prominent factor among minorities is blackmail”. Offenders often use threats of shames and family dishonour to control the young people within our communities as they are disbelieved about their abuse.
Legislation supporting young people and families include:
– Children Act 1989 (2004)
– Sex offenders Act 2003
– Human Rights Act 1998
It is against the law to abuse, groom, threatened, rape or force a child to partake in any sexual activity, this constitute to child abuse. Perpetrators can be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty of sexual abuse. Perpetrators are likely to be registered on the sex offenders register which, restricts perpetrators from working with children or having unsupervised contact with children. The maximum sentence for offences involving internet and grooming is 10 years (The Crown Persecution Service).
Signs of child sexual abuse include:
– Nightmares, sleeping problems
– Change in behaviour- aggressive or withdrawn
– Becoming unusually secretive
– Use of inappropriate sexualised words
– Inappropriate sexualised behaviour (relating to age)
– Unexplained sores, bruises, pregnancy or STI’s
– Self-harming and or absconding
– Unaccountable fear or change in behaviour towards a place or person
– Unexplained gifts and presents
How can we help?
- Challenging and re-evaluating some of the values and believes (mentioned in the article) we hold within our communities.
- Listening to our children instead of dismissing, labelling and shaming them.
- Victims of sexual abuse need to speak up to help the community gain some insight and knowledge about abuse and the extent of such issues which should assist with providing appropriate services for victims.
- Familiarising (online learning and resources) ourselves with the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse through further reading about child sexual abuse.
- Reporting any cases of sexual abuse (includes historic cases) to police and other relating agencies. (social care)
Organisations and support available
– NSPCC (Open 24 hours – 0808 800 5000)
– Police (999- emergencies 101 for non-emergencies)
– Children social care (dependant on area)
– AFRUCA (London- 0207 704 2261 – Manchester – 0161 205 9274)
– ChildLine- NSPCC (0800 11 11)
Reference and further Reading
- https://www.hoganinjury.com/the-schools-responsibilities-to-children/ (US Source)