A number of local authorities across northern towns have refused to launch reviews into child sexual exploitation in their areas, former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal has alleged.
Afzal, who is now Chancellor at the University of Manchester, added that the ‘culture of denial’ in these councils must be tackled.
He is best known for tackling cases involving violence against women and the sexual exploitation of children. The former Crown Prosecutor worked tirelessly to bring child sexual offenders in Rochdale to justice.
“I do have a sense of denial around the country. I’ve approached some towns for example, and said ‘why aren’t you carrying out a look into what’s going on or had gone on in your areas?’ and they said, ‘we’ve moved on’,” he told the Northern Agenda podcast.
“I’m afraid they may have moved on, but the children who were victims have never moved on and can’t move on. So we’ve got to tackle that issue of denial.”
He praised the recent review into abuse in Oldham and urged other councils to take the politics out of it and focus on the victims.
His actions against child sexual abusers were highly appreciated and he became a target of the far right.
“I damaged their narrative, the narrative being that all brown people are sex abusers and so I had thugs outside my front door,” he told the podcast.
According to Afzal, many people from ethnic minority backgrounds are scared to speak about the abuse they suffered.
“We’re often told ‘if you work hard, you’ll get wherever you want to’. Actually, it doesn’t work that way, you can work extraordinarily hard and not get anywhere. No disrespect to any Gavins out there, but they can fail and they can fail and they can fail and still be promoted,” he said.
“If Gavin was Khan or Singh or Patel, rest assured that any one of his failures would have been magnified so much and amplified so much that that will be the end of their career. So we still have a significant problem.”
The legal expert will publish a book on the issue of race in modern Britain in September.