Please STOP HERE and take a few minutes to sign and share this petition to demand that the UK government ratify the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women. This law which helps prevent violence, protect survivors and prosecute perpetrators, was signed by the government in 2012 but they still haven’t put it into practice. It would improve education, prevent further cuts to domestic violence refuges and specialist support services and make it a legal requirement for the government to provide sufficient shelter and support for survivors.
- Every year 100,000 adults are raped into the UK (around 12000 men and 85000 women). 9 in 10 cases the perpetrator is already known to the victim.
- Fewer than 1 in 30 can expect to see their rapist brought to justice.
- Only 2 in 10 report to the police.
- Less than 3% of reports result in a suspect being charged.
- For those that do, it is harder today to successfully prosecute a rapist than it was in the 1970s. Over the past 40 years, the attrition rate for rape has plummeted from 32% to 5.6%.
- In parts of the UK, up to quarter of reported rapes have not even recorded as crimes. Of those, only 28% were being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for further action.
- The more you need support to access justice, the less likely you are to get it. People with mental health issues are 40% less likely to have their case referred for prosecution. Those with learning difficulties see their chances reduced by 67%.
- Dorset Police has one of the UK’s worst conviction rates and no specialist rape unit. In 2020 they only pressed charges in 28 of the 782 rape reports they received.
- According to data obtained by Justice for Gaia via a Freedom of Information request, of 2058 sexual offences recorded by the Dorset Police 2019-2020, only 46 resulted in criminal charges.
Watch this incredible interview with survivor Fern Champion speaking out about her experience, which was also Gaia’s and so many others’. Content warning: contains graphic descriptions of sexual violence.
- Hundreds of vulnerable patients have died since 2012 following failings by health bodies. Independent investigations have found poor, inadequate or delayed care
- 75% of mental health issues develop under the age of 24, often as a result of trauma, yet young people’s services receive less than 7% of mental health funding.
- The Association of Child Psychotherapists identifies a ‘silent catastrophe’ in child and adolescent mental health services. Support on the NHS, especially in terms of specialist or acute services, is becoming increasingly difficult to access. The result has been rising suicide rates and countless people with nowhere else to go into hospital, increasing pressure on A&E departments.
Sexual Violence & Mental Health
Almost half of women who experience severe mental distress are survivors of sexual violence.
Government funding cuts have forced the majority of Rape Crisis Centres to cut services or close down, with just 21% of services now fully funded and survivors waiting on average three months for support and counselling. Support for those needing to rebuild their lives after rape is now “a privilege determined by a postcode lottery.” Survivors of sexual and domestic violence are being turned away from shelters and onto the streets at a rate of 200 per day.
To learn more about families like us fighting for truth, justice and accountability after losing someone they love in state care or in detention, visit INQUEST.
To learn more about sexual and domestic violence, support for survivors and campaigns for change, check out these amazing organisations:
Further reading on the crisis & recommendations for the change we need:
- CWJ Manifesto: Male Violence Against Women And Girls – What Needs To Change In The Criminal Justice System.
- The Decriminalisation of Rape: why the justice system is failing survivors and what needs to change.
- Holding It Together: the courage, resilience and innovation Rape Crisis Centres during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Impact of the Dual Pandemics: Violence Against Women and Girls and Covid-19 on Black and Minoritised Women and Girls.
- Attitudes to Sexual Consent: research for the End Violence Against Women Coalition by YouGov.
- A Bill for Survivors: Womens Aid’s case for a bill to transform the national response to domestic abuse.
- The Changing Landscape of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services: all party parliamentary group on domestic and sexual violence inquiry.