A new report has revealed that violent crimes against women have increased by a horrifying 10 per cent this year
In what might just be today’s bleakest news, a new report has revealed that the number of prosecutions directly related to violence against women has increased by 10 per cent over the last 12 months.
There are few factors behind it – new offences, such as revenge porn (which became illegal in April 2015) mean that there are more areas in which women can file charges, and there’s also the argument that by being increasingly open about sexual violence and abuse (and getting rid of the shame that often accompanies it), more women are able to come forward and take legal action than ever before – meaning that the prosecution figures would rise, even if the number of incidents doesn’t actually go up.
But the director of public prosecution, Alison Saunders, believes that the internet is also playing a huge part in the ways in which UK women are becoming victims of abuse.
‘The use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten individuals is rising and it is something that we will possibly see increase further,’ she told the Guardian. ‘It is undoubtedly easier to commit a lot of these crimes online, people do it without thinking, it is more immediate and it is about the reach and ability to communicate to so many more people.’
‘The flip side of that is that the evidence is out there and it is pretty incontrovertible evidence. We have been working with Twitter and Facebook to help us train prosecutors in how to be aware of what evidence is available and talking to them about how they can help us and victims.’
Nevertheless, the statistics are terrifying. Between 2015 – 2016, there was a record number of rape prosecutions: 4,643 – although less than 2,700 of those ended with convictions.’
‘The increase in prosecutions shows that more women are seeking justice,’ adds Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence against Women Coalition. ‘But it is still the case that the majority of women and girls subject to these crimes do not report them to the police, and the specialist services which support them are fighting for survival.’
And with this news coming less than 24 hours after the revelation that two thirds of all women’s refuges are set to close, it’s a particularly depressing situation.