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New inquiry: The escalation of violence against women and girls

11 July 2023

The Women and Equalities Committee has today launched a new inquiry to understand whether men who commit certain types of crime and non-criminal offences have a higher potential to commit serious acts of violence against women. It will also examine the availability and effectiveness of services and interventions to tackle such behaviours. 

In recent years, there have been a number of high profile cases where women have been raped and murdered by perpetrators with a concerning history of offending. The inquiry will look at whether non-criminal behaviours or non-contact sexual offences can escalate to more serious crimes. It will examine how the police service and wider criminal justice system respond to these behaviours and what interventions are in place to address different types of offending. 

Given frequent reports of cases of sexual misconduct by serving officers, notably the fire and police services, the inquiry will also ask if there is a problem in the workplace culture of some public sector organisations. 

Chair's comment

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP said: 

“In recent years we have seen a series of high-profile crimes, where men have been convicted of rape and murder who had a history of other forms of violent or sexual crime.  

“We want to understand if there are patterns of behaviour which could indicate a higher likelihood to escalate to more serious forms of crime.  

“This could include criminal behaviours, such as domestic violence, stalking or flashing, or non-criminal behaviours such as using misogynistic language. We also want to see if sexist and misogynistic behaviour online translates to physical violence in the real world. 

“Are the police force and criminal justice system set up to identify and challenge these behaviours, and provide suitable interventions to mitigate their effects? 

“Given the catalogue of cases of serving officers committing serious crimes, we also have to ask if they are doing enough to ensure the culture within their own ranks isn’t fostering dangerous attitudes to women.” 

Terms of reference 

The Women and Equalities Committee invites written submissions by Friday 22 September addressing any or all of the following questions: 

  • To what extent is there evidence that men who exhibit certain non-criminal behaviours, including online, go on to commit criminal offences against women and girls? 
  • To what extent is there evidence that men who commit certain crimes (such as non-contact sexual offences) go on to commit serious violent offences against women and girls? 
  • How effective is (a) the police service and (b) the criminal justice system at responding to these behaviours and offences and how might those responses be improved?
  • What interventions are currently in place for perpetrators with different offending histories and how effective are they for different offender pathways? 
  • To what extent is there evidence that escalating behaviours is a particular problem within the emergency services and other public sector organisations? 

Further information

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