Minister Reveals Scale Of Violence Against Women

The Home Affairs Minister says working to rehabilitate offenders of violent crimes against women will be 'a very large part of the solution', after revealing that 93% of victims of domestic sexual offences are female.

Deputy Gregory Guida also revealed that 88% of sexual abuse victims in Jersey last year were women, as were 73% of victims of domestic abuse.

A taskforce will be created to improve women's safety. It will hear from islanders and propose 'direct and achievable action plans.'

It follows a successful amendment to the Government Plan from Constable Karen Shenton-Stone.

The taskforce will include researching the extent of sexual and domestic violence and harassment, including crimes such as drink spiking.

"The UK, for example, has done its call for evidence a year ago and created a 'Violence Against Women And Girls Delivery Plan', published by the National Police Chiefs Council, and we completely agree with their recommendations and it's definitely something that we want to do.

It looks at three paths. One of them is creating safe space for women, the other one is to relentlessly pursue perpetrators and I think that's very very important and probably the most difficult thing.

The third one is quite interesting, it was found as the most important, is rehabilitation, is working on offenders.

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." - Deputy Gregory Guida, Home Affairs Minister.

The successful amendment put forward by Constable Shenton-Stone was prompted by outrage at comments made by Deputy Guida in the States Assembly in November 2021.

He said incidents of sexual assault in Jersey public spaces are rare, and that people should be careful with their drinks and be aware that spiking is a possibility.

A group of politicians wrote an open letter to the Minister, calling for action to prevent harassment and violence against women and girls.

Following questions from Deputy Kirsten Morel, Deputy Guida told States members that Jersey is 'in general, a safe place' for women.

"50% of violence against a person is domestic abuse-related and I think that's definitely a problem that we need to address.

It seems to be still lower in Jersey than it is, for example, in the UK, but we know that there is so little detection of cases - it's definitely something we need to work on.

The new (Domestic Abuse) law will be an extremely good start for this because we have a proper and modern definition of domestic abuse and I really hope we can work on this."

The law is due to be debated in March.

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