UK police failings show survivors "not taken seriously"

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Police in the UK are "systematically failing" to protect women survivors of rape and other forms of violence, according to a new complaint by the Centre for Women’s Justice on behalf of 11 frontline services.

The 'super-complaint' outlines a number of areas where forces are not using existing powers to protect survivors. 

Commenting, Danielle Spencer – senior advisor on violence against women and girls at ActionAid UK – said:

“These findings are yet another example of how violence against women still isn’t being taken seriously. Time and time again – both in Britain and in the countries where ActionAid works – we see deep-rooted sexist attitudes coming into play when women report crimes committed against them. The perpetrator is given the benefit of the doubt, and the survivor’s needs are dismissed – or worse, she is made to feel like a criminal. For women and girls, the results of this justice deficit can be life-threatening.

“We urgently need a more robust approach to ensure justice for all survivors, in the UK and globally. That means fully implementing laws to protect women and help them to report violence, ensuring justice systems are properly resourced to support survivors, and making communities safer places for women and girls.”


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Notes to editors

1. ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Our dedicated local staff are helping end violence against women and girls and changing lives, for good. We won’t stop until women and girls are out of danger, out of poverty and on track to create the future they want.

2. Research by ActionAid UK in 2018 found that nearly half (46%) of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment, but of those, 62% believed that it would be 'pointless' to report it. Nearly a third of British women (31%) didn't understand their legal right to report harassment to the police. More information about the research can be seen at the ActionAid UK website, here.

3. More information about ActionAid UK’s work with survivors of violence can be found at the ActionAid UK site, here.