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Grooming and the 'Asian sex gang predator': the construction of a racial crime threat

Cockbain, E; (2013) Grooming and the 'Asian sex gang predator': the construction of a racial crime threat. Race & Class , 54 (4) 22 - 32. 10.1177/0306396813475983. Green open access

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Abstract

Following a mainstream British newspaper’s claim to have uncovered a new crime threat of ‘on-street grooming’, extensive and emotive debate continues around the so-called ‘Asian sex gang’ problem in the UK. This article examines the construction of a new racial crime threat, assessing the validity of its foundations and exploring its possible causes and consequences. Grooming is shown to be a dubious category, not a distinct offence but an ill-defined subset of child sexual exploitation more generally. The article highlights a fundamental tension in the grooming discourse, showing that claims of a uniquely racial crime threat are ill founded but that Asians have been overrepresented, relative to the general population, among suspected child sexual exploiters identified to date. The implications of the current fixation with grooming and ‘Asian sex gangs’ are examined and shown to further a political agendum and legitimise thinly veiled racism, ultimately doing victims a disservice. The article concludes by calling for a shift from the sweeping, ill-founded generalisations driving dominant discourse to date, towards open and level-headed discussions around child sexual exploitation, including but not limited to, examining relationships between race and offending.

Type: Article
Title: Grooming and the 'Asian sex gang predator': the construction of a racial crime threat
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0306396813475983
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306396813475983
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
Keywords: Asian, child sexual exploitation, crime, grooming, media, Pakistani, political correctness
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1420144
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