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Reaction to Oxford grooming verdicts from 'CAASE'

Posted by Nick Lowles, HOPE not hate, on: Tuesday, 14 May 2013

LONDON, UK - In the aftermath of the sex abuse 'grooming' case verdicts in Oxford today, the newly-launched Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) - which includes HOPE not hate, the Islamic Society of Britain, Victim Support, the Muslim Council of Britain and Church of England among its network - utterly condemns the actions of the men involved.

Julie Siddiqi, co-founder of the CAASE initiative and Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Britain, said: "The damage these men have done and evil they have wrought will last a lifetime for their victims - survivors of abuse - which can never be fully healed. The men and those who sheltered them must now examine their consciences as they reflect on the terrible nature of their crimes. It is imperative that there is no hiding place for abuse or abusers within any of our communities."

Said Nick Lowles, also co-founder of CAASE as well as Chief Executive of HOPE not hate: "This trial has once again exposed the true horrors of grooming and the human suffering that results from it. All communities must come together and speak out against this awful crime and do our upmost to ensure that the vulnerable are protected and the guilty are prosecuted. This is exactly what CAASE has been established to do."

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 Posted: 14 May 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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CAASE launch videos

Posted by Nick Lowles, HOPE not hate, on: Monday, 13 May 2013

We have just uploaded two of the speeches from the CAASE launch on YouTube.

In the first video, Julie Siddiqi outlines the reason why we are setting up CAASE

In the second, Angela Sinfield gives a very moving but inspiring account of how 'grooming' affected her family but why she was also determined to campaign against it.

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 Posted: 13 May 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A brilliant launch, now the real work begins

Posted by Nick Lowles, HOPE not hate, on: Friday, 10 May 2013

Angela Sinfield gives an emotional account of what she and her daughter experienced.
Angela Sinfield gives an emotional account of what she and her daughter experienced.

Just arriving back into London from what has been a really successful launch of Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitaton (CAASE) on Bradford today. Well over 100 people attended, as did five TV crews and numerous journalists.

Speaking at the event was Ralph Berry (lead member for Children's Services on Bradford Council), Chief Superintendent Angela Williams, from Keighley, Alyas Karmani, (Co-Director of STREET), the Bishop of Bradford, Zulfiqar Karim (Bradford Council for Mosques), Angela Sinfield, Paul Meszaros (Yorkshire HOPE not hate) and Javed Khan (CEO of Victim Support).

Introducing CAASE was Julie Siddiqi and myself.

The event pulled no punches as to the scale of the problem and the work we need to do. However, it also highlighted several really excellent initiatives in Bradford that are already making a real difference.

Angela Sinfield's description of the abuse her daughter suffered and the impact that had on her and the rest of the family was one of the most emotional and haunting speeches I have ever heard. It really put the day into context and reminded us so vividly about why we were so keen to launch CASSE in the first place.

A common theme running through the event was the need for partnership working. Child protection is obviously central to all of this but there is a vital role for communities, the media and other outside agencies.

I will write a more reflective blog over the weekend, and upload some video and photos from today, but in the meantime I would just like to say a big thank you to the speakers and everyone who attended.

The launch was a great success but the much more challenging work of building and supporting local coalitions starts now.

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 Posted: 10 May 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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CAASE a new alliance against on-street grooming and child sexual abuse

Posted by Nick Lowles, HOPE not hate, on: Friday, 10 May 2013


There are few more awful crimes than the sexual abuse of children. There are certainly fewer crimes that incite so much anger and hatred within our communities. Sexual assaults on young girls have been in the news recently with the unfolding Jimmy Savile scandal, the arrests of several high-profile TV stars and the reports into abuse at a North Wales children’s home and Manchester music school.

Yesterday, the jury at an Old Bailey trial retired to consider a verdict againstnine men from Oxford accused of grooming and sexually exploiting young girls over an eight-year period. This is just the latest in a series of high-profile cases involving British Muslim men, which have then been seized upon and exploited by the Far Right and more general anti-Muslim adherents. In fact, there is little else they are campaigning on at the moment. But if we are to prevent the likes of the British National Party (BNP), English Defence League (EDL), National Front (NF) and their hate-fuelled friends benefiting from these cases, we need to prove to the public that we are concerned about these stories of grooming by both gangs and individuals, and, more importantly, are going to do something about it.

And that’s why HOPE not hate is delighted to be involved in the setting up of the ‘Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation’ (CAASE). We are seeking to develop a cross-community initiative that can deal head on with the issue of ‘on-street grooming by gangs’.

Our aims are simple. We want to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, via education and campaigning across all communities. We want to encourage reporting and promote services to help vulnerable young people. We want to produce training kits and background fact-sheets for faith and community leaders, so they can speak out with knowledge and confidence.

Furthermore, we intend to produce myth-busting materials to counter extremist groups who are tempted to exploit these terrible crimes for their own destructive purposes, in order to divide communities and stir up hatred. And we want to create a space for dialogue and open discussion between – and within – communities, to help break down misconceptions, address issues of real concern and develop more effective cross-community responses.

Fundamentally, we want to help create a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to child sexual exploitation and develop young leaders to take the campaign into their communities.

Paedophilia and sex abuse reach across all communities. These sickening actions involve men from all ethnic backgrounds – so it is vital we take ‘race’ out of the equation. However, we must also be willing to confront the issue wherever we find it. Staying silent and ignoring the problem is simply not an option.

There are many great initiatives going on already. Police, local authorities and child protection agencies are working hard. But there is more that can be done. We believe that community and faith organisations are often best-placed to reach out to local people and prevent their communities being divided: that is why CAASE is a long overdue initiative and one that we hope will make a real difference.

***

Led by the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), and HOPE not hate (HNH), CAASE is being supported by faith and civic leaders including the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Youth Helpline, Muslim Community Helpline, Federation of Muslim Organisations, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), Faith Associates, the Christian Muslim Forum, City Sikhs Network, and the Church of England, plus women’s rights networks including Inspire, the Henna Foundation, and Making Herstory.

Professional guidance is being provided by Victim Support, plus STREET, which works with at-risk young people, and NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood) which specialises in support for abuse survivors.

Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation – CAASE – is a cross-community response to the issue of ‘on-street grooming by gangs’. It launches today, 10 May, in Bradford.

www.caase.org.uk | @no2grooming

 

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 Posted: 10 May 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Introducing CAASE

Posted by Nick Lowles, HOPE not hate, on: Friday, 10 May 2013

The far right are using grooming trials to whip up racism and divide communities
The far right are using grooming trials to whip up racism and divide communities

There are few more awful crimes than the sexual abuse of children. There are certainly fewer crimes that incite so much anger and hatred within our communities. Sexual assaults on young girls have been in the news recently with the unfolding Jimmy Savile scandal, the arrests of several high-profile TV stars and the reports into abuse at a North Wales children’s home and the Manchester music school.

Yesterday, the jury at the Old Bailey retired to consider a verdict in the trial of nine men from Oxford accused of grooming and sexually exploiting young girls over an eight-year period. This is just the latest in a series of high profile cases involving British Muslim men and these have been jumped on and exploited by the far right. In fact, there is little else they are campaigning on at the moment. But if we are to prevent the likes of the British National Party, English Defence League and National Front benefiting from these cases then we need to prove to the public that we are concerned about these stories of grooming by both gangs and individuals, and, more importantly, are going to do something about it.

And that’s why HOPE not hate is delighted to be involved in the setting up of the Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE). We are seeking to develop a cross-community initiative that can deal head on with the issue of on-street grooming by gangs.

Our aims are simple. We want to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation through education and campaigning across all communities. We want to encourage reporting and promote services to help vulnerable young people. We want to produce training kits and background factsheets on the issue for faith and community leaders, so they can speak out with knowledge and confidence. We want to produce myth-busting material to counter extremist groups who might attempt to exploit the issue in order to divide communities and stir up hatred. And, we want to create a space for dialogue and open discussion between and within communities, to help break down misconceptions, address real issues of concerns and develop more effective cross-community responses.

Fundamentally, we want to help create a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to child sexual exploitation and develop young leaders to take the campaign into their communities.

Paedophilia and sex abuse reaches across all communities and involves men from all ethnic backgrounds and it is vital we take race out of the equation. However, we must also be willing to confront the issue wherever we find it. Staying silent and ignoring the problem is simply not an option.

There are many great initiatives going on already. Police, local authorities and child protection agencies are working hard, but there is also more that can be done. We want to develop a community angle to this work as we believe that community and faith organisations are often best placed to reach out to local people and prevent communities being divided.

CAASE is a long overdue initiative and one that will make a real difference.

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 Posted: 10 May 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments