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Many sexual offences going unreported

Many sexual offences going unreported

Thursday 26 January 2023

Many sexual offences going unreported

Thursday 26 January 2023

A sexual offences survey with nearly 1,000 individual responses has highlighted that hundreds of people did not report negative experiences as they felt it was not serious enough, or because of a “lack of trust in either the police or the wider criminal justice system”.

The survey, which was launched by Guernsey Police last year, was focused on issues surrounding Guernsey’s night-time economy.

83% of respondents were female out of 984 responses received, most of whom were between the ages of 18 and 30. 

111 said they reported their incident while 619 did not. Of these, 41% felt the experience was not serious enough, while 36% held a distrust of the police or the judiciary.

Guernsey Police say that steps are now being taken to address areas identified as of most concern to the community and urged anyone with related experiences to report them. 

Deputy Chief Officer Ian Scholes said: “If anyone experiences this we would investigate it”, and recognised that these crimes are disproportionately experienced by women and girls. 

Key figures 

  • Over 80% of respondents reported experiencing violence, intimidation, or inappropriate behaviour on a night out.
  • 572 experienced physical or sexual abuse, such as grabbing or inappropriate touching.
  • 566 experienced verbal abuse or inappropriate touching.
  • 161 said their drinks were tampered with.
  • 57 said they had been victims of other offences including rape, unsolicited sexting, abuse, and stalking.
  • A majority said they has these experiences within the last two years. 
  • Guernsey Police’s effectiveness at dealing with these issues was ranked on average 4/10 by 748 respondents.  

Pictured: Senior officers presented their findings to the media on Wednesday. 

Immediate measures taken by law enforcement include increasing the number of prosecutions for sexual assaults reported in the night-time economy, offering new drink spiking screening kits, and reviewing the licensing regime to see if minimum standards could be raised. 

Nine new high-quality CCTV have also been placed around St. Peter Port and proactive patrols have been recommended.

DCO Scholes said that local law enforcement is “fully aware that events in the UK are undermining trust and confidence in the police. He was referring to the murder of Sarah Everard and other serious crimes including rape which have been committed by serving officers. 

“Police officers want to help people. For all the bad apples… the rest of Police officer’s go over and above to help people every day… we mustn’t forget the good,” he urged.

He hoped that the strategy and actions would show that locally law enforcement was “looking inwardly and keeping our house [its] house in order”, but said the issue is “not just a police problem but a society problem”. 

DCO Scholes said policing is “by consent… so we need the public to come forward” and report their experiences. He also urged the public to “call out this behaviour”.


Pictured: Reports of drink tampering have increased in recent years. 

Guernsey Police received 28 reports of spiking last year. 

Detective Chief Inspector Julie Palmer said instances of spiking are often “very difficult to prove” since a full account is required from the victim which may take some time for them to sober up before providing extensive details.  

Regardless, she said anyone concerned of falling victim to this should “seek medical intervention in the first instance”.

She added that investigations into spiking reports have not revealed “patterns or trends in terms of” specific venues, largely because victims have usually visited half a dozen establishments on a night out and it is therefore “hard to track back”. 

DCI Palmer said it was also important to get licensees on board to work on preventative measures as the police don’t always have all the tools and therefore need to “manage expectations”. 

She said while there is “a need to redeploy [officers] to the hot spot area” the Police Station has nearly twenty officers trained specifically in sexual or abuse offences and on hand to assist victims.

Detective Sergeant Nicole Thomas argued that the “levels of prosecution will not always satisfy everyone” and that it “as infuriating for [the police] as it for victims” when a prosecution cannot be pursued. 


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