The link is to one of the most balanced and neutral reports of this story but there have been other reports, including TV broadcasts about ethnic and sectarian dimensions to this crime wave, the gang groomed 27 victims, the youngest 12 and the majority white, there have been politicians who have even suggested that this is a problem specific to certain quarters of Pakistani immigrant communities, the message has been repeated, although with a different complection perhaps, by religious and community leaders from within those communities.
The issue being that the perpetrators believed that white children had no morals and in some reports specifically because they were out in public unaccompanied by either male parents or siblings, other beliefs attributed to the perpetrators include that female members of their own communities were "off limits", unless for marriage, while those from outside their community were "easy meat".
Politicians and the police have emphasised the fact that the targetted girls where all without strong family networks, frequently from within the public child care system, or without any strong familial allegiances.
Community leaders from within the immigrant communities have acknowledged there is a problem and have stated that they are going to do what they can to encourage that young men within their communities ascribe to or become more stead fast in their morality.
The stories have thrown up a lot of questions for me, I know how ill equipped the authorities are to prevent contact between vulnerable children and adults of this kind, open residential units have no powers to physically confine children in this circumstances and while it is possible that applications could me made to have the child in question relocated to a closed residential unit these are over subscribed facilities, I'm also not a fan of the idea of rolling out permission to confine children because I think its something which could quickly become corrupting to all involved.
There is a question about multiculturalism or ethnic mix here too, all parties reporting this in the UK have acknowledged that the targetting and victimisation in this crime wave was racist and racially motivated, with individuals doing to members of another community things that they wouldnt or couldnt do to members of their own.
There's also intersects between ethnicity and culture here, the traditional, very possibly patriarchal, paternalistic, conservative and strongly familial versus the muddled, frequently single parent household, vulnerable and liberal/permissive. For predatory individuals it would be much more easy to victimise undetected individuals who where members of one community rather than the other.
Despite this being objectively the case I would find the norms and values of the traditionalist culture suspiscious, perhaps as a result of my own westernised prejudices, but also because I'm unsure that being protected from predators would be sufficient to cancel out very possibly being subject to controlling, restrictive and gendered control.
I'm also very aware that while the perpetrators where men, very good examples of individuals who fail to meet with a certain standards of self-control and conduct most men have no problem with, there is a focus on control of women underlying this whole story. There's also been comment, elsewhere, on the fact that they have been given indefinite sentences, realistically this could mean between eight and eleven years, its not really indefinite as that would be prohibited by the European Convention on Human Rights.
Anyone else have opinions on this news story? Perhaps I should find a couple of other articles for comparative purposes.