REHABILITATING violent male offenders will play a ‘large part’ in addressing sexual violence in the Island, according to the Home Affairs Minister.
Deputy Gregory Guida said preventative and rehabilitative measures were ‘important’, and a successful amendment lodged by Constable Karen Shenton-Stone to the Government Plan had given his department the budget to set up a task force on issues of sexual and domestic violence.
‘We know that perpetrators of sexual violence are a small group of repeat offenders, and it is quite clear that working on them is going to be a very large part of the solution,’ he said during yesterday’s States sitting.
The Deputy added that he agreed with a strategy published by police chiefs in England and Wales which set out three recommendations to deal with violence against women: rehabilitating offenders, creating a safe space for women and relentlessly pursuing offenders.
The minister was responding to Deputy Jess Perchard, who said: ‘Given that so much violence against women is carried out by male perpetrators, what plans are in place to undertake preventative and rehabilitative measures targeting male perpetrators of violence?’
When Deputy Perchard queried what programmes were currently in place aimed at prevention or rehabilitation, Deputy Guida said: ‘We have a rape and serious sexual offences action plan for 2022, which already exists.’
Deputy Kirsten Morel earlier prompted the debate over male violence, when he asked an oral question on the proportion of violent crimes committed by men against women, and what initiatives were in place to reduce these crimes and ensure women felt safe.
Deputy Guida said male violence against women accounted for 22% of all assaults, 16% of all serious violence, and 20% of all violent crime. In 2021, this was 20% of all assaults, 21% of serious violence, and 20% of all violent crime.
‘These figures change dramatically when you look at sexual crime,’ he said. ‘We come up to 67% of female victims (2020), and 88% in 2021. If you look at domestic violence, the figures again change dramatically.’
The most recent figures showed 73% of victims of domestic abuse were female, while for domestic violence and sexual offences, ‘we are talking about 93%’, Deputy Guida said. ‘A number of initiatives are currently in place or in the process of launching,’ he said, including the Island’s first domestic abuse law, which is expected to be lodged in the coming weeks. There had also been investment in support services, including the sexual assault referral centre.
‘This is a very very important first step in any case of domestic abuse or violence,’ he said.
Deputy Guida also gave the number for the SARC, which is 01534 888 222.
‘It is the first port of call,’ he said. ‘Come forward. You will be helped.’