The Crown Prosecution Service Report released today has highlighted a significant increase in prosecutions for crimes related to violence against women and girls.
These include an increase in child sexual abuse convictions of almost 17% and over 200 prosecutions for disclosing private sexual images without consent (sometimes referred to as ‘revenge porn’).
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said that changes in the way sexual offences are prosecuted have helped improve conviction rates but warned of the use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten individuals is rising and “will possibly increase further”.
Commenting on the report, the Chair of the Association for Police and Crime Commissioners Vera Baird QC commended the work by police and CPS in bringing more perpetrators to justice but suggested that more could be done to prevent the child sexual abuse crimes highlighted in the report happening in the first place through make PSHE compulsory on the curriculum. Ms Baird said:
"This report shows that child sexual abuse prosecutions rose by 15.4% to 6,217. Effective police work and heavy sanctions by the courts will send out a message but it is too late for the victims by then. That is why the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners are calling for PSHE – personal, social, health and economic – education to be made a compulsory part of the national curriculum for every school, giving children who are victims of abuse the education to judge earlier that it is wrong and develop the confidence to report. We are committed to protecting future generations from harmful behaviour that, in the post-Savile era, we now realise has blighted so many lives."
Joe Hayman, PSHE Association Chief Executive said:
“Evidence shows that PSHE education helps to break cycles of abuse, with young people who get such education more likely to recognise unhealthy relationships and more likely to seek help if they experience abuse. This work is very challenging, and needs to be undertaken by trained professionals with adequate curriculum time. We once again call on the Department for Education to give PSHE education the statutory status it deserves.”