The former Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England has warned that child sex abuse in the UK is so widespread that there is ‘not enough land’ to build all the prisons needed to incarcerate offenders.
Sue Berelowitz, who has been under fire after she received a six-figure payoff and was then promptly rehired as a £1,000 a-day consultant, made the claim while speaking at the Hay Literary Festival yesterday.
Mrs Berelowitz, who is currently chairing the government’s inquiry into child sex abuse said the public will be ‘shocked by the sheer scale of the problem’ when she releases her report in November.
She said that if the Crown Prosecution Service were to prosecute every paedophile there would not be enough land to build the prisons needed.
Speaking to Jon Snow with Camila Batmanghelidjh and Helena Kennedy during a talk on child sex abuse last night, she blamed the prevalence of pornography for the growth of an increasingly sexualised society.
Mrs Berelowitz said: ‘We live in a highly sexualised world in which for the most part it is considered quite acceptable [for men] to do as they want with females, and too many females think that is something they must comply with because they think it is a part of growing up
‘Child porn and the proliferation of indecent images of children, and all the stuff we are seeing on social media which is undoubtedly having an impact on young people growing up and their impressions of sex and sexuality.’
She added: ‘If the CPS were to prosecute everyone we would need a rolling prison programme. I would say there probably isn’t the land to build enough prisons,’ The Telegraph reports.
Mrs Berelowitz, who failed to speak out about sexual abuse by British Pakistani gangs, took voluntary redundancy from her £99,333-a-year post on April 30, receiving a pay-off worth £134,000.
But the next day she was hired as a consultant leading an inquiry into child abuse in the family – which she had been in charge of in her old role since last July.
The 61-year-old is paid £960 a day, working up to nine days a month – so she earns almost as much as before, but for less work.
Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, where some of the grooming gangs operated, said the redundancy pay-off was ‘disgraceful’.
Mrs Berelowitz’s report, to be published in November, follows abuse scandals in areas including Rotherham, where it was reported that 1,400 children were abused between 1997 and 2013.
Speaking last night Mrs Berelowitz also claimed that the covering up of child sex abuse is still happening in local authorities and police stations across the country – but added that the bigger problem is taking place in children’s homes.
Mrs Berelowitz is considered a controversial figure because her 2012 report in the wake of high-profile abuse cases in Rochdale and Rotherham denied there was a growing number of Asian grooming gangs.
Despite finding that more than a quarter of perpetrators known to the authorities were Asian, Mrs Berelowitz said there was no evidence to conclude that there was a particular issue with Asian gangs.