chapter  91
10 Pages

Sexual Violence

WithDerek Perkins, Anisah Ebrahimjee

In the United Kingdom, sexual offending attracts disproportionately more public interest than the less than 2% of recorded crimes that it represents,1 contributing to what has sometimes been characterized as a “moral panic” about sexual offending.2 (There was an increase of 9% in all sexual offenses for the year ending June 2013 compared with the previous year (up from 51,252 to 55,812), partly a result of the Operation Yewtree investigation, initiated in October 2012 and connected to the Jimmy Savile inquiry). Knowledge about sexual offenses is limited and biased by its high “dark figure” (i.e., unreported offenses). The focus of the criminal justice system is susceptible to the disproportionate effect on public, media, and political attention of high-profile cases. This often results in changes in prioritizations, for example between alcohol-fueled “date rapes,” stranger-perpetrated child sexual assaults, or, current at the time of writing, historic sexual abuse by perpetrators from the entertainment industry. Such media-driven concerns can obscure the reality that most sexual offending is embedded in family and social networks.