Cllr Karen Constantine has recently sent a letter to South Thanet MP, Craig MacKinley.
I am writing to you in response to the shocking news that police are investigating an allegation that your aide raped a woman in Parliament.
At such times it's too easy to make assumptions or to presume guilt. That it is not my intention here. That is a job for the judiciary and the Crown Prosecution Service. Others have written elsewhere on the difficulty of securing guilty verdicts. It's very difficult to obtain evidence.
There has been a sharp escalation of the number and severity of sexual attacks on women since 2009. The Government’s own 2013 ‘Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales’ (Ministry of Justice, Home Office & the Office for National Statistics) provides some appalling statistics:
“It is estimated that 0.5 per cent of females report being a victim of the most serious offences of rape or sexual assault by penetration in the previous 12 months, equivalent to around 85,000 victims on average per year. Among males, less than 0.1 per cent (around 12,000) report being a victim of the same types of offences in the previous 12 months.
Around one in twenty females (aged 16 to 59) reported being a victim of a most serious sexual offence since the age of 16. Extending this to include other sexual offences such as sexual threats, unwanted touching or indecent exposure, this increased to one in five females reporting being a victim since the age of 16.”
In stark contrast to the appallingly high numbers of attacks, the conviction rates for rape are depressingly low, for example in 2011 only 1,200 such offenders were convicted.
Here in Thanet our rape conviction rate is below the national average. We have had rapes here. Recently. In the immediate vicinity of your Constituency home.
In the last calendar year 67 rape or sexual assault allegations were made in Ramsgate but there were no arrests made at all, let alone charges or convictions.
I want to see you, as our MP, rise to this challenge, to demonstrate that you take this seriously. Please take all the action you can, both in Parliament and in our constituency, to draw attention to the persistence and prevalence of this hideous crime. Rape is a serious crime. More can and must be done to stop it!