BMG were proud to be commissioned by Channel 4 to conduct research around experiences of sexual violence and confidence in the police and the judiciary system when it comes to serious sexual crime.

The research was used as part of the Channel 4 programme ‘The Rape Debate: Who’s on Trial?’ which brought politicians, police, prosecutors, campaigners and survivors together to discuss and debate the issue. The debate can be watched here.

The programme followed on from a powerful documentary film ‘Rape: Who’s on Trial?’ which gave ‘unprecedented’ access to four police investigations into serious sexual crime.

BMG surveyed a representative sample of the public in England and Wales, including 1,513 women and 770 men. The study was conducted on our regular omnibus and included a ‘boost’ of female respondents achieved through oversampling.

The findings provided important context throughout the panel discussion and ultimately demonstrated strong evidence of a crisis of confidence in policing and the judicial system more widely when it comes to serious sexual crime.

Our hard-hitting statistics showed:

  • Over a third (36%) of women are victims of rape or sexual assault, rising to 47% of women aged 18-34.
  • 8 in 10 women did not report the most recent incident of sexual assault or rape to the police (80%).
  • 60% of women are not confident the justice system achieves justice for rape and sexual assault victims.
  • 40% of women do not have confidence that the police would take a complaint of sexual assault or rape seriously.
  • 71% of women do not feel safe when walking alone after dark.

Commenting on the results, BMG’s Lucy Hallam said:

“Against a backdrop of falling prosecutions in England and Wales, BMG’s findings further highlight the wider problem both the police and the judicial system face when it comes to serious sexual crime.

A clear majority of women simply do not have confidence in the judicial system to deal with incidents of sexual assault or rape, with as many as two in five not even confident that the police would take a complaint seriously.

With confidence in the wider system so low, it is perhaps then little surprise that our poll finds the vast majority of women do not report incidents of sexual assault or rape to the police.

The scale of the problem is clear and we are very grateful to Channel 4 for allowing us to take women’s experiences to a much wider audience, providing much needed additional context to the already damning official statistics.”

Laura Fisher – Senior Research Executive
Poppy Youde- Senior Research Executive

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