SAJID JAVID has vowed to take the child abuse “epidemic” head on as he leads an inquiry looking at sexual crimes against children, along with the Centre for Social Justice think tank.
Elaborating on the scale of child sex abuse in the UK, the former home secretary and chancellor said he had wrongly assumed “dealing with terrorists would weigh the most heavily” on him when he had assumed charge at Home Office in 2018.
“I was mistaken,” he said.
He noted that the National Crime Agency had recently estimated that there were at least 300,000 paedophiles in the UK.
“Referrals of child abuse images from industry alone are up 1,000 per cent since 2013 and evidence suggests that one in six children is sexually abused,” Javid said.
He also noted that by the end of March 2019, the police in England and Wales had recorded 73,260 sexual offences against children.
“These are shocking figures and why I wanted to work with the Centre for Social Justice to tackle this issue head on.”
The lockdown, he added, had become “a perfect storm for many children at risk of abuse”.
We’ll ask the questions that many won’t, to uncover the true scale of a problem that has all too often been ignored.
While the violation of one child is one child too many, one in six is devastating. (2/2)
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) May 31, 2020
Javid said he would work with experts to expose “not just the extent of child sex abuse and exploitation in the country, but the general characteristics of the offenders and victims”.
The inquiry report will put forth “constructive proposals” for “decisive action to turn the tide”, he added.
Javid said the inquiry commission would analyse the “changing patterns of offending”, and identify the most vulnerable children.
“During our inquiry we will review existing data to assess the true scale of the problem and recommend a path to address this criminal activity,” he said.
The commission will also specifically examine the issue of child “grooming”, said Javid, adding that he intended to increase public awareness on the “abuse epidemic”.
“This project will leave no stones unturned,” he assured.
Andy Cook, chief executive of Centre for Social Justice, said: “This is, unfortunately, a widespread issue and our new commission will look at what needs to be done to address it and stamp it out for good. We welcome Sajid Javid’s support at a time when over one in six British children are facing the sickening threat of sexual abuse.
“We are grateful to him for bringing his experience as home secretary to our commission and speaking out on this issue.”