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Sexual offences at record high

December 18 2017

This year has seen an increasing number of high-profile women speak out about sexual abuse. The Harvey Weinstein allegations are just one example of this, with the Time Person of the Year award being jointly given to ‘The Silence Breakers’ and the #MeToo campaign, which encouraged people to speak up about their experiences.

A recent report published by the Crown Prosecution Service’s Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) has noted that between 2015-2016, prosecutions for sexual offences increased to their highest levels yet. In 2014-2015, 9,789 people were prosecuted, whereas the number of defendants in the following 12 months was 11,995. This marks an increase of 22.5%, the highest rate of increase ever recorded. The conviction rate for sexual offences, along with rape, was also noted by the VAWG as being at its highest ever level.

One possible cause of this increase in recorded offences could be the internet. Indeed, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has noted how the internet, and in particular social media, can be used to “humiliate, control and threaten individuals” and that the number of instances of this occurring is increasing. Examples of ways the internet can be used to commit offences include revenge pornography as well as disclosing intimate sexual images online. Technology could also play a part in other types of offence, for example through tracking victims using GPS technology or accessing emails or other messages on online platforms.

Grahame Stowe Bateson is one of the leading private client firms in Yorkshire. From our bases in Leeds and Harrogate we offer a wide range of legal services including criminal defence, and mental health law. If you would like the help of an experienced solicitor, please get in touch today on 0113 246 8163.

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