Shocking figures reveal 6,500 sex attacks in UK hospitals in just three years as only four percent end in prosecution

17 April 2023, 07:20 | Updated: 17 April 2023, 10:05

Founder Heather Binning called the 6,500 reported crimes were 'just the tip of the iceberg', with reports echoing those of the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal which rocked Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Founder Heather Binning, far right, called the 6,500 reported crimes were 'just the tip of the iceberg', with reports echoing those of the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal which rocked Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Picture: LBC / Alamy / Heather Binning

By Danielle DeWolfe

Shocking statistics revealed today show more than 6,500 sex attacks took place in UK hospitals in the space of only three years.

The alarming figures, which equate to 33 offences taking place every week, also show that only 4.1 percent resulted in the alleged offender being charged.

Compiled as part of a report published today by the Women's Rights Network, list a range of offences including gang rapes and assaults on children.

Surfacing following a freedom of information requests submitted to police forces in England and Wales, the numbers show at least 2,088 rapes and 4,451 sexual assaults were reported between January 2019 and October 2022.

Those numbers collated offences taking place across both private and public UK hospitals.

Nick Ferrari and Professor Jo Phoenix on hospital assaults

Women's Rights Network founder, Heather Binning, called the reported crimes were 'just the tip of the iceberg'.

The report, written by Reading University criminology professor Jo Phoenix, said that hospitals were "failing in their duty to protect both patients and staff".

Speaking with Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Professor Phoenix explained the figures reported were comprised of incidents taking place on hospital premises and on hospital wards.

"We know how poor the police have been performing generally when it comes to these matters - it's a crime that has the highest attrition rate," said Professor Phoenix.

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"What we have to remember is that hospitals are not any other place. And we have quite a few examples in the past of national scandals where there have been sexual assaults in hospitals which, if you like, went unnoticed and undetected."

Adding: "All I have to do is mention the name Jimmy Saville".

Founder Heather Binning called the reported crimes were 'just the tip of the iceberg', with reports echoing those of the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal which rocked Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Founder Heather Binning called the reported crimes were 'just the tip of the iceberg', with reports echoing those of the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal which rocked Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Picture: LBC / Alamy

A sentiment echoed by Binning, the report's findings are likened to the culture of silence and abuse seen at Stoke Mandeville Hospital - the location for much of Saville's abuse.

She adds the figures illustrated police forces' failings and hospitals failing to protect vulnerable patients.

"The police are not doing enough in terms of recording the crimes properly and pursuing them – these are places with CCTV and restricted access. Why is the charge rate so low?" said Binning.

"These statistics are jaw-dropping. We began this investigation because of concerns about the safety of women and children on NHS wards, but we are horrified at what we have uncovered."

Founder Heather Binning called the reported crimes were 'just the tip of the iceberg', with reports echoing those of the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal which rocked Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Founder Heather Binning called the reported crimes were 'just the tip of the iceberg', with reports echoing those of the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal which rocked Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Picture: LBC / Alamy

She adds: "The volume of sexual assaults and rapes is even more horrific when you consider that this data covers the pandemic, when much of the country was in lockdown and hospitals were supposedly even more vigilant."

According to the WRN, better record-keeping of crimes is required, with the group calling on the Home Office to create guidelines for the police which allow for increased accuracy where sexual crimes within healthcare is concerned.

The report also called for scrapping rules which state trans people should be accommodated 'according to their presentation' in hospital wards.

It follows the news earlier this month which saw trans women banned from female world athletics events over fears of a competitive advantage.

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