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Dr Ella Cockbain @DrEllaC
, 24 tweets, 11 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD (PART 4 of 4): Why you shouldn’t trust @QuilliamOrg ‘s report on #groominggangs & the claim that 84% of “grooming gang offenders” are Asian. An evidence-based critique. 1/
More specifically, relative to the general population, Asians were actually underrepresented (at 4%) among the approx. 6,200 defendants prosecuted in 2015/2016 for sexual offences flagged as related to child abuse. ( 2/
People often say it’s deflecting to point out that Asians are not overrepresented at national scale. They say categories like all sex offences or even all child sexual abuse are too broad & we need to look at specific subsets. 3/
I say, these categories are broad but it’s not deflecting. It’s sensible to look at the most extensive data available. It’s right to put more trust in robust, large-scale, national datasets than patchy, small-scale datasets with limited coverage & a lack of generalisability. 4/
None of this means that analysis & responses can’t be tailored to the specific characteristics & contexts of particular forms of abuse & geographical areas. Specificity is important & helpful in tackling crimes. 5/
But to be useful (especially in the context of measurement), any ‘types’ should be clearly defined & consistently applied. They should not be built up around an apparently predetermined racial model, as I worry has happened with “grooming gangs”. 6/
Rates of child sexual abuse are high across different countries & ethnicities, which suggests that people's inherent *potential* to offend is unlikely to vary much (if at all) between groups ( 7/
Potential offenders create &/or exploit opportunities to offend. Social,demographic,familial,cultural,occupational factors etc can affect the opportunities they have ( While these factors can be interrelated with ethnicity, ethnicity is not to ‘blame’. 8/
I think the first thing we all need to do is stop using @QuilliamOrg ‘s dodgy “research” & its 84% statistic: it's about as credible as Andrew Wakefield on MMR. Thanks in part to uncritical reporting, it seems to have become ‘fact’ by repetition alone. 9/
When I say @QuilliamOrg ‘s statistic is not reliable, people often ask what is the ‘real’ statistic? I don’t know. Nobody does. I can’t offer you the statistic you might want, but it’s better not to use one at all than to use one so demonstrably flawed. 10/
We also need to question the simplistic narrative on “grooming gangs”. It can distort understanding, influence decisions & fuel hate. Most of all, it detracts from the existence, importance & needs of so many victims who don’t fit the stereotypes. 11/
Yes, we need to tackle child sexual abuse in Asian communities. But we also need to stop scapegoating & start recognising the problem of child sexual abuse in its entirety, complexity & diversity. We need well-informed, well-executed & properly-funded responses to all abuse. 12/
What can you do to help?Call to account those who publicised @QuilliamOrg ‘s shoddy “research”.Demand retractions & apologies.Ask @BBC @LBC @SkyNews & other outlets to stop giving a platform to @QuilliamOrg in light of their apparent intellectual dishonesty & irresponsibility.13/
Ask @SajidJavid if @QuilliamOrg ‘s work influenced the direction of the new research he ordered on “grooming gangs”. @QuilliamOrg were certainly quick to draw connections to their own “research”. ( 14/
It’s been terrifying standing up to @QuilliamOrg & meant laying myself bare for attack, scrutiny, criticism & unfounded claims of racism. Responses from them & others have caused me considerable fear & anxiety. 15/
If that’s what it takes to challenge bad “research” that is fuelling toxic debate & hurting victims, I’m willing to do it. But it’s not right to attack legitimate criticisms of the validity of research & to harass detractors based on their own traits (real or invented) 16/
Funding: None. Professional affiliation: @UCL Political affiliation: None. Acknowledgments: This thread builds on a sharp critique from @NewerEra & @Reg_Left_Media ( I salute both them & many others here, not least the formidable @LilyAllen 17/
Postscript: I’m human. It’s hard working on such a sensitive & high-profile topic, especially as a new researcher. I’ve tried to be honest, do my best & challenge misuse of my work (eg. (£)). Looking back, there are things I wish I'd done differently. 18/
As a PhD student in 2012, I wrote a @Guardian commentary on ‘localised grooming’ & ethnicity ( I discussed the findings of @CEOPUK ‘s 2011 study, their limitations & interpretation. I also drew on own my ongoing research. 19/
I also wrote a simple brief the same year on so-called ‘group-based CSE’, covering the basics on what was known at the time ( Ironically, it’s one of the very few publications from university researchers in @QuilliamOrg ‘s report. 20/
Looking back, I wish I’d questioned the framing of ‘localised grooming’ as a specific crime ‘type’ at the time. I did so not long after but I wish I’d realised sooner ( 21/
I wish I hadn’t presented a result for 52 offenders from 5 cases in % terms in a news article (83% Asian).I made explicit that it was a small sample & not generalisable. @QuilliamOrg now use the misleading claim of a 1% disagreement to deflect criticism from their shoddy work.22/
That's me done with this monster thread. I'd have done it more succinctly if I could but there was a lot to cover. Thanks for your time & consideration.
Things got a little messy with such a big thread. Here are the links to the previous parts if of interest/use.
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
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