Shock figures reveal women and girls as young as 14 killed by men in South Yorkshire

The death of Sarah Everard has triggered a public outcry about the safety of women and how offences against them are dealt with.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 3:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 3:04 pm

An analysis of figures from South Yorkshire Police reveals the risks that women face, with murder, rape and abuse contributing to what campaigners describe as a deadly 'global pandemic' of violence against women.

The most recent official statistics at police force level show that 19 women and girls were killed in the area between April 2016 and March 2019.

According to a report from the Femicide Census, a research and campaigning organisation, 35 of those killed in South Yorkshire in the decade to 2018 were females aged over 14. They were all killed by men.

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Tributes were paid to slain Sarah Everard at Devonshire Green, Sheffield.

And South Yorkshire Police figures show that more than 1,000 women and girls reported rape in just a year.

Home Office statistics show that women are disproportionately impacted by sex crimes and are more likely to be victims of stalking, harassment and domestic abuse than men.

A spokeswoman for Rape Crisis called for radical action in the fight to end violence against women and warned that the scope of the problem is much higher than official figures suggest.

Of the 1,590 rape cases recorded in South Yorkshire in the year to March 2020, 90% involved female victims, as did 83% of 1,325 sexual assaults dealt with by the force in that time.

There were also more than 20,000 crimes flagged as domestic abuse by officers in that period – the equivalent of 15 in every thousand people being violently or psychologically abused by someone they know.

Figures for the whole of England and Wales show that at least two-thirds of domestic abuse victims in that period were female.

More than 70% of the 2,075 women and girls killed in the decade to March 2020 knew their murderer, compared to almost half of the male murder victims. Women are more likely to be killed in a domestic setting, while men are commonly killed on the streets.

Domestic abuse has increased during the coronavirus lockdowns but a Rape Crisis spokeswoman said: “Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that long pre-exists Covid-19.

“In this country alone, it severely and negatively impacts millions of lives, communities and society as a whole – and it is deadly.

“The vast majority of it is never reported to the police and when it is, it rarely ends in criminal justice being served.”

She called on society to come together to “end the narrative that tells women they are responsible for preventing male violence and instead tell perpetrators and potential perpetrators that we will not tolerate violence against women and girls any longer.”

Surveys suggest that women and girls are also regularly harassed in public, with a recent YouGov poll for UN Women finding that at least seven out of 10 in the UK had experienced sexual harassment on the street.

Official statistics do not reflect the scale of this specific issue but do show that South Yorkshire officers investigated 8,786 harassment allegations and 1,629 stalking cases.

The most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales found that almost one in five women had been stalked, compared to fewer than one in 10 men – BY Joanna Morris, Data Reporter

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.