Recorded rape offences have been rising in England and Wales, but the proportion of offences making it to court has fallen significantly over the past few years.
Police and prosecutors are asking complainants in rape cases to agree to hand their phones over or face the prospect of prosecutions being dropped – something victims’ commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove has said is “unlikely to do anything to help reverse the fall in prosecutions for rape and sexual violence”.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decides whether cases investigated by the police go to trial. In September 2018, it said the proportion of reported rapes being prosecuted had reached their lowest level in a decade.
There has been strong criticism of a move to get rape victims to hand over their phones to police – or risk prosecutions not going ahead.
Consent forms asking for permission to access information including emails, messages and photographs are being rolled out across England and Wales.
Prosecutors say the forms make clear investigators should not go beyond “reasonable lines of enquiry”.
But Labour’s Yvette Cooper said there were “no safeguards in place at all”.
It is hard to remember a moment in my lifetime when Britain faced a greater crisis. A coup led by a small group of rightwing libertarians is all but complete, as the Vote Leave team has been reassembled and taken control of 10 Downing Street. They are set upon implementing the most extreme no-deal version of Brexit – and, most terrifyingly, we are running out of time to stop them.
At times of national crises political leaders need to bring a country together. But that is not happening. The government is hellbent on creating more divisions, scapegoating our friends and neighbours, and ignoring the inequality and democratic deficit that fuelled the Brexit vote.
It is not only a crash-out Brexit that threatens our future. There’s the climate emergency too, and an unscrupulous leader would have no qualms about manipulating it to justify the sweeping aside of democratic guarantees and people losing their rights. We have to avoid this danger.
Three mysterious deaths and dozens of violent attacks on butch lesbians, or camionas, have put lesbians in Chile’s Fifth region on red alert.
Nicole Saavedra Bahamondes’ family knew she was not a morning person.
Especially at weekends, the 23-year-old did not leave her bedroom early – and she knew her mother wouldn’t disturb her in her cosy bed, still laden with the cuddly toys from her childhood.
At about 11:00 on a Saturday, Nicole would usually emerge and walk slowly to the kitchen in search of coffee.
She would blearily exchange words with her mother, Olga Bahamondes, giving monosyllabic answers to any questions about the night before.
Two women say they were subjected to a homophobic attack and left covered in blood after refusing to kiss on a bus.
Melania Geymonat, 28, said the attack on her and partner Chris happened on the top deck of a London night bus as they were travelling to Camden Town.
A group of young men began harassing them when they discovered the women were a couple, asking them to kiss while making sexual gestures.
Four male teenagers aged between 15 and 18 have been arrested.
They are being questioned on suspicion of robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm.
Protests against LGBT teaching at a Birmingham primary school are “homophobic” and must “stop now”, the West Midlands mayor has said.
Andy Street said he was in “disbelief” at material distributed by protesters outside Anderton Park Primary.
The mayor, who is gay, told the BBC he had thought homophobia was a “non-issue in our city”.
A High Court injunction is in place banning protests, which have been going on for months, outside the school.
Parents started to gather at the gates over concerns children were “too young” to learn about LGBT relationships. They also said the lessons contradicted Islam.
I can’t come here as a friend, even though I might very much want to.” These are the words of Andrea Dworkin, addressing an anti-sexist men’s organisation in 1983, in her acclaimed speech I Want a 24-Hour Truce in Which There Is No Rape. “The power exercised by men, day to day, in life is power that is institutionalised. It is protected by law. It is protected by religion and religious practice. It is protected by universities, which are strongholds of male supremacy. It is protected by a police force. It is protected by those whom Shelley called “the unacknowledged legislators of the world”: the poets, the artists. Against that power, we have silence.”
Dworkin, who died of heart failure in 2005 at the age of 58, was one of the world’s most notorious radical feminists. She wrote 14 books, the most famous of which was Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1981). Now her work is being revisited in Last Days at Hot Slit, a new collection of her writing.
A computer tool used by police to predict which people are likely to reoffend has come under scrutiny from one force’s ethics committee, who said there were a lot of “unanswered questions” and concerns about potential bias.
Amid mounting financial pressure, at least a dozen police forces are using or considering predictive analytics, despite warnings from campaigners that use of algorithms and “predictive policing” models risks locking discrimination into the criminal justice system.
West Midlands police are at the forefront, leading on a £4.5m project funded by the Home Office called National Data Analytics Solution (NDAS).
In the wake of YouTube’s controversial decision not to pull videos containing homophobic and racist attacks, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote an internal email acknowledging that “the LGBTQ+ community has felt a lot of pain and frustration over recent events.” While a few Google execs have already apologized for YouTube’s decision, Pichai’s email carries more weight given his position. The email, obtained by The Verge, also suggests that Google plans to conduct more internal discussions aimed at addressing its harassment policies.