Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, responds to Operation Soteria Bluestone Rape and Sexual Assault Survivor Survey.
As part of Operation Soteria Bluestone, a new report has been published sharing findings from an ongoing online survey. Survivors of rape and sexual assault have been sharing their experiences of the police in England and Wales.
So far 1,968 survivors with police experience completed the survey between 16th January 2023 and 30 June 2023. Alongside the 1,968 survivors, a further 190 survivors whose cases are not known to the police shared their insights into why they chose not to report their rape or sexual assault.
The report showed that three out of four survivors (who completed this survey) found that their mental health had worsened as a direct result of what the police did, or failed to do, in their case.
The report found:
- One in three rapes and sexual assaults in the survey so far were perpetrated by current and ex-partners.
- Survivors of sexual violence by current partners reported the poorest experiences with the police compared to other relationship types.
- Survivors of sexual violence by current partners were less likely to say they would report sexual offences again in the future.
- Survivors of sexual violence by current partners were less likely to say officers made them feel like what happened was not their fault.
Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, said:
“Every victim and survivor of sexual violence should expect the highest care and support as they make the brave decision to report to the police. This report shows us that victims of sexual violence at the hands of a partner describe the worst experiences with the police, leaving them less likely to report again. Facing sexual violence from a partner is under no circumstances less serious than from any other perpetrator.”
Operation Soteria Bluestone is a Home Office funded programme, led by the NPCC (National Police Chief’s Council) and covers the policing aspects of Operation Soteria. It has brought together police forces and academics, using evidence and new insights to enable police forces to change their response to rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO).
Nicole Jacobs, added: “Operation Soteria Bluestone research found that sexual violence was a strong indicator of coercive control, a serious and high-risk form of domestic abuse. That officers showed a lack of understanding of coercive control is dangerous, and in some circumstances police action left women and children at greater risk.
Domestic abuse and sexual violence are closely connected crimes, with one in three rapes and sexual assaults in this survey perpetrated by current and ex-partners. The Home Office must urgently address this, recognising how closely linked police failings are in response to both sexual violence and domestic abuse.
All police forces should treat domestic and sexual violence as integral to policing, undergoing radical culture change, with thorough training and robust action plans.”