Cultural sensitivities must not be allowed to deter work aimed at uncovering child sex abuse, the home secretary has said.
Amber Rudd spoke after the convictions of 17 men and one woman three days ago for the sexual abuse of under-age girls in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Her intervention came as Jeremy Wright, the attorney-general, faced calls to review the sentences of several members of the gang after it emerged that the apparently racially aggravated nature of their crimes was not reflected in their punishment.
Mike Penning, a former policing minister, said that he had written to Mr Wright questioning whether the incident should be treated as “a race-hate crime”.
Grooming gangs should get longer sentences ‘if abuse is racist’
Gangs who sexually abuse young girls should be given longer prison sentences where there is evidence of racism, the solicitor general has said.
Robert Buckland told the Telegraph that racism cut “all ways” and should be “front and centre” when it is part of grooming and sexual abuse cases.
On Wednesday, 17 men and one woman were convicted over abuse in Newcastle.
They were mainly British-born from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Iraqi, Indian Iranian and Turkish communities.
In Newcastle, victims as young as 14 were plied with alcohol and drugs before being forced to have sex by a “cynical organisation”.
Over the course of four trials, 20 young women gave evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014.
Fear of being called racist stops people reporting child sexual exploitation concerns, Labour frontbencher claims
A fear of being called racist is stopping authorities from dealing with child abuse and sexual exploitation, a Labour frontbencher has claimed.
Sarah Champion, the shadow women and equalities minister, said that “people are more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse”.