Only 4% of reported assaults ended in someone being charged, women’s rights activists said
Despite the prevalence of CCTV and security guards, more than 6,500 rapes and sexual assaults – some against children under 13 – have been committed in hospitals in England and Wales since 2019, according to a report by the Women’s Rights Network (WRN) published on Monday.
A least 2,088 rapes and 4,451 sexual assaults in hospitals were recorded by police forces in the UK between January 2019 and October 2022, the organization said, citing Freedom of Information requests to 43 police forces. One in seven of these attacks took place inside hospital wards, the report stated.
Among the crimes reported were the rape of a female child under 13 and the gang rape of a female over 16 in two West Midlands hospitals. Three rapes of a female under 16 were reported in Cambridgeshire, while six girls under the age of 13 were raped in Lancashire, the report alleges.
The records obtained did not list victims’ gender, which was determined through further investigation by the WRN. At least 14 attacks involved a male victim, one of whom was under the age of 13, the report stated.
“These statistics are jaw-dropping,” WRN founder Heather Binning said in a statement. “The volume of sexual assaults and rapes is even more horrific when you consider that this data covers the pandemic, when much of the country was in lockdown and hospitals were supposedly even more vigilant.”
Out of 6,539 cases reported to police, only 265, or 4%, ended in criminal charges against a suspect. The WRN noted that during its investigation, seven police forces provided incomplete information, five refused to disclose how many attacks took place in hospital wards, and three declined to give information on the number of suspects charged. Scottish police provided no information at all, due to alleged “cost constraints.”
The WRN recommended that hospitals review their security plans and install additional CCTV cameras if necessary, and that the UK Home Office force police to record more data on sexual assaults in hospitals. Additionally, the organization called on the National Health Service to repeal its 2019 guidelines under which transgender women – who are biologically male – are allowed in women’s wards.
April 18, 2023 at 12:32AM