Eighty per cent of women do not report rape or sexual assault to police

Eighty per cent of women who experience rape or sexual assault are not reporting the crimes to police, research has revealed.

The research, commissioned by Channel 4 Dispatches, found 36 per cent of women have experienced sexual assault or rape, with 31 per cent experiencing it three or more times.

Of those who reported experiencing a sexual assault or rape, 80 per cent did not report the most recent incident to police, the research found. Only 31 per cent of women surveyed were confident that the judicial system achieves justice for victims like them.

A total of 2,293 respondents were surveyed, of whom 1,513 respondents were female and 770 male.

‘It affects your life so much’

The findings come ahead of the Dispatches show, “Rape – Who’s on Trial?”, which airs on Channel 4 at 9pm on Monday. The programme gives unprecedented access to the work of officers at Avon and Somerset Police as they investigate serious sexual crime, from the initial reports through to the criminal justice process.

The programme includes testimony from a woman named Debbie, who claims she was sexually assaulted in a pub toilet. But her case did not meet the Crown Prosecution Services evidential threshold, meaning no charges were brought.

“It’s definitely affected me as a person, not in a nice way. I have had quite a few panic attacks… It’s just made me have less confidence overall now. I’ve definitely not been going out as much,” she said.

“I actually said – do you know what, I wish I hadn’t reported it, because it affects your life so much.”

Sarah Crew, Avon and Somerset’s temporary Chief Constable, said: “Rape and sexual assaults are devastating crimes that have life-long impacts on victims. The criminal justice system has not been convicting enough offenders and too few victims are getting justice.

“We are working incredibly hard to turn that around with new, research-led initiatives that are already having an effect. We know we have work to do to gain back the trust of victims.”

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