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Special Investigation: The Far-Right Grooming of Survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation

Hardeep Matharu, Editor of Byline Times, explains why the cover story of the May 2024 print edition is one which must urgently be told

Don’t miss a story

The cover story for the May 2024 print edition of Byline Times would not have been possible without the bravery and determination of survivors of child sexual exploitation who have, for many years, wanted to tell the story of what has happened to them after the horrific abuse they have already experienced.

While other established media outlets declined to provide a platform to have their voices heard, Byline Times believed the importance of their story called for the space, depth and exploration readers will find in this edition. 

Why is it urgent?

Read Andrew Kersley’s exclusive five-month special investigation into the far-right grooming of survivors of child sexual exploitation in the May 2024 edition of Byline Times. Available now as a digital edition via subscription, or in stores and newsagents from 23 April

Because, in recent years, our political culture has become increasingly toxified. Within this, the weaponisation of divisive, race-driven narratives has become normalised. While these ‘culture wars’ fill up newspaper columns and skew policy announcements, the real (harder) issues remain untouched. People are left at risk.

There is a crisis of child sexual exploitation in this country which neither the police, our social services, politicians, the press, nor society as a whole have sufficiently got to grips with. Left without the support to deal with their trauma, the survivors of this abuse are being targeted by extremists for their own ends. 

Byline Times’ five-month special investigation by reporter Andrew Kersley has uncovered how far-right groups offering ‘support’ to survivors of child sexual exploitation are using this to further anti-Muslim hate. These findings have been further supported by the work of the leading advocacy group in this field, Hope Not Hate.    

The more that narratives around ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ being the sole cause for concern of this crisis continue to be given legitimacy – by the holders of high office and our established newspapers – the greater the risk to already vulnerable survivors, and to society as a whole. 

It is the survivors who are so often forgotten in all this. It’s time we heard from them.

Read Andrew Kersley’s exclusive three-part investigation in the digital edition online now, or in stores and newsagents from 23 April.

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