The government’s response to today’s review of child rape in Oxford about an epidemic of rape of children, especially those in care, is a smokescreen to manage the outcry rather than deal with the rape.

In response to the Oxford rape and child abuse, the government proposes to make it compulsory to report any underage sexual activity as child abuse. This is another smokescreen aimed at increasing the power of the state to control children rather than the power of children and their families to get justice. It is also a way of hiding child rape (calling it abuse or exploitation instead), and of disconnecting the neglect of the rape of young girls and boys from the neglect of rape of adults, especially of women. Let´s not forget that only 6.7% of rape ends in conviction and that 90% of rapists get away with it. (‘Why do the police deal with rape cases so badly?’)

The main problem with the rape and sexual exploitation of children is not lack of reporting to the police. In Oxford, Nottingham, Northern Ireland, Rochdale, Rotherham, Wales, Westminster . . . , and with Savile and other serial attackers, children, family members, community workers and teachers reported the violence hundreds of times. Some whistleblowers pursued the authorities and were persecuted for it, even losing their jobs The cases of many children were discussed by police, social workers and even councillors. But the police did nothing. Worse: they treated children like trash and threatened them, and in some cases even prosecuted them instead of their attackers. This is what police think of rape and rapists.

One child we know was placed by social services with a known paedophile – everyone around them would have known that when it happened. This is what those responsible for care think of the children in their care. As one of Savile’s victims said about the violence she suffered: ‘That’s what we were for.’

Despite all this, questions about the corrupt relationships between the authorities and the rapists continue to be evaded. Victims and their solicitors have been asking, why have the rapists who have been reported already not been arrested or charged? Will those whose job it was to protect children and investigate crime be held to account, and by whom? Will police, social workers and politicians be sacked and prosecuted for having failed in their duty of care and having perverted the course of justice, or will they get away with covering up rape and shielding violent criminals once again?

We have put 37 detailed questions about Rotherham to MPs and have received no answers.

An epidemic of rape of children has been ‘discovered’. The authorities are trying to manage it rather than address it. This treatment of rape is at one with what we have often faced trying to get rapists charged and convicted over four decades. And this is the eve of International Women’s Day!


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