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Sexual offences survey results

More than 80% of 984[1] respondents to Guernsey Police's survey on violence, intimidation and inappropriate behaviour said they had experienced one of these issues when out in Guernsey's night-time economy.

572 people experienced physical or sexual abuse, such as grabbing or inappropriate touching, 566 experienced verbal abuse or inappropriate comments, and 161 said they had their drinks tampered with, such as spiking. 57 respondents also said they had been the victim of other offences, including rape, unsolicited sexting, emotional or coercive abuse, and stalking.

502 respondents experienced violence, intimidation or inappropriate behaviour during the last two years.

Other data yielded from the survey showed that:

Since Guernsey Police compiled the results, it has been taking steps to act on some of the areas identified as of the most concern to the community - this has included the installation of 9 new CCTV camera positions in and around Town, more focused and proactive policing in an effort to secure more prosecutions for offences that take place in Town.

Other actions taken include:

Julie Palmer, Detective Chief Inspector, said:

"One of the biggest challenges when it comes to violence, intimidation and sexual harassment against women and girls is encouraging victims to report this unacceptable behaviour.

"Our survey shows many victims do not deem incidents serious enough to warrant police involvement. Of those that did report just over 50% were dissatisfied with how it was dealt with and this is something we the police need to change. We are determined to build trust and confidence within our community and to ensure that perpetrators of such offences are held accountable for their actions. In order to do this, we need to understand those barriers that prevent victims from reporting, and we need to reflect on and understand how we can improve.

"During 2022, we have however seen an increase in the reporting of such incidents which has directly led to more prosecutions. We urge people to continue to challenge inappropriate behaviour and report incidents to the police so that perpetrators can be dealt with robustly. This type of behaviour towards women and girls should not be tolerated, it is a societal problem and unfortunately one which policing alone will not be able to solve."

Deputy Chief Officer Ian Scholes said:

"Building trust in the police is obviously a key part of encouraging more people to report offences in this area. These incidents can leave people at their most vulnerable, and we need to do our utmost to help people feel comfortable and safe when reporting incidents. This is a challenge our colleagues across the British Isles are currently facing, and while no police force is the same, we still acknowledge we have work to do.

"It would be remiss of me not to mention incidents such as the one revealed in the Metropolitan Police in recent days. Officers like David Carrick undermine the extremely hard work that I know the vast majority of our organisation does to help protect the community in Guernsey. We are closely monitoring the developments in the UK and will ensure we engage with our UK colleagues to benefit from the learning that comes from their investigations.  The public has a right to trust its police service and we must do all we can to protect that trust.

"Equally, we always look to support our staff's professional development so they can do the best job of protecting the Bailiwick. In the last few months every member of staff in the organisation has attended a dedicated domestic abuse training course to help us better support victims in that area, which while not the same issue, is similar and had many helpful takeaways. We will also continue to closely watch the learnings of UK forces and see how we can improve our policies and procedures as we do."

Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:

"The Committee is incredibly supportive of all the work that the police are doing in this area. It is also a priority for us politically, and with the publication of our updated Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse strategy last year, we have been doing what we can to ensure Guernsey is properly tackling these issues. We continue to progress the development of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre, which we know is a key element of improving the island's victim support system, and we also continue to look at new ideas and policies to support law enforcement. The feedback received in the police's survey highlights makes it very clear that we must continue to try to change the culture on this important issue."

Conducting this survey, and the #ShowSomeRespect campaign, was just one element of a suite of measures that Guernsey Police implemented as part of the Bailiwick Law Enforcement strategy to demonstrate commitment to safety and to build trust and confidence in the community.

While police alone cannot 'solve' violence against women and girls - it is a societal problem that requires a societal response - it is recognised that the police do have unique powers and responsibilities to protect victims from further harm, pursue perpetrators and prevent crime.


[1] Respondents were not required to respond to every question, so not all of the data will add up.

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