There has been an increase in sexual offences against women.
The Crown Prosecution Service’s Violence Against Women and Girls report, published in September 2016, has shown that convictions for rape, domestic abuse, sexual offences and child abuse have reached record levels.
The conviction rate for rape cases rose to 57.9 per cent of the 4,653 cases.
In total 11,995 defendants were prosecuted in 2015-16 for sexual offences other than rape, up from 9,789 the year before. The figure has steadily increased since 2012, but this is the steepest increase yet. Sexual offences range from non-consensual sexual touching to serious sexual assault.
The vast majority of defendants were men, with women accounting for just 2.7 per cent, and of those prosecuted 78 per cent were convicted.
There were 206 prosecutions for revenge pornography, after new laws to tackle the crime were introduced in April 2015. Disclosing private sexual images without consent carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions said the internet had contributed to the overall rise and had enabled other offences, with defendants relying on “tactics such as GPS tracking and monitoring phone or email messages” to control or coerce victims. She said “The use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten individuals is rising”.
Note: This report was drawn from a report in the Daily Telegraph.
FOD Comment: FOD notes that despite improved conviction levels for rape and sexual offences, the CPS receives little credit, but instead is repeatedly attacked by politicians and the media when cases fail. Sometimes it is alleged that cases have been badly investigated or prosecuted, but more usually the implication is that police and CPS lawyers have accepted the word of a woman making a ‘false allegation’. FOD notes that when figures are published which suggest high levels of sexual violence against women and horrifying levels of male violence, politicians and media pundits are almost always silent. It troubles us that those that do comment, so readily focus on on-line abuse, as if the problem is technology rather than sexism and male violence. The debate we should be having is about how to keep girls and women safe while challenging and changing male behaviour.