Conviction rates for crimes against women and girls ‘way too low’, minister admits

Since legislation was passed four years ago to criminalise upskirting, just 68 people have been convicted despite 1,150 offences recorded, according to a new report.

An investigation by Sky News has revealed that 40 per cent of the victims are children — some as young as three years old.

Asked about the figures this morning, policing minister Chris Philip said he is “pleased this government took action by legislating, but added that he would “like to see more done to protect women and girls from violence in general and this offence in particular.”

He added that he was “especially shocked” to see that 40% of victims of upskirting are children.

Mr Philp insisted that more resources are being put into fighting violence against women and girls, but added ministers want to do more. And when asked if police officers are being properly trained to investigate these crimes, he said the issue is “front and centre” in officers’ minds.

However, despite saying conviction “numbers are moving in the right direction”, he conceded they are “still way too low”.

The Sky News original report highlighted that outcomes are also low across other sexual offences too. Just 3.6% of sexual offences in England and Wales resulted in a charge in 2022/23 — or 2.1% for rape offences.

Also speaking to Sky News this morning, shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry insisted we must “change the culture” of policing and officers who have been accused of domestic violence ought to be suspended

Ms Thornberry welcomed the government’s new legislation to toughen up the disciplinary process for officers who are found guilty of gross misconduct and said Labour had been asking ministers to do this “for some time”.

“We just wish they had done it earlier and we suspect that it may not be enough”, she added.

She explained that one of the fundamental problems with the police at the moment was a “lack of trust that particularly women had” and there needed to be a “change of culture” in policing.

She added: “They don’t take violence against women sufficiently seriously and that includes domestic violence.

“Police officers themselves can be accused of domestic violence and yet they are not suspended, they continue to be in practice.

“We’ve seen some of the most shocking cases have been people who have had a history of domestic violence, the police have known about it and they continue to be allowed to be out on the streets.”