Sexual assault and rape charges at a four year low in London

With Lucy Marley Journalist,
and Alpha Kamara Video journalist

If 86% of young women say they’ve been sexually harassed in a public place - are the police doing enough to protect us?

‘Text me when you get home’ has always been a thing for me. And it’s mad how normalised that is. 
If 86% of young women say they’ve been sexually harassed in a public place - are the police doing enough to protect us?
The number of sexual assault and rape cases reported to the police are currently at their highest since 2018. 
But the number of people charged by the Met has fallen to its lowest level…
2018
3% of rapes charged 
7.5% of sexual assaults charged 
2021
1.5% of rapes charged 
3% of sexual assaults charged. 
So more people are coming forward to report allegations of rape and sexual assault. 
But the number of people investigated and then charged (the next stage of the criminal process) has fallen.
The Met police told us: “Rape is one of the most complex crimes police investigate, with many evidential challenges for both police and the wider criminal justice system, but we must do better.”
Investigating a sexual crime can be extremely long and difficult for victims. 
When they report a rape or sexual assault, access to victims’ phones and laptops are sometimes requested to help the police with their investigation.
This only happens in sex offence cases and has been called the “digital strip search” by some campaigners.
A government review recently said investigations should be focused on suspects rather than victims.

Juliana & Anna

Juliana Terlizzi was raped by her then boyfriend Hubert Greliak in 2020.
He filmed the crime on his phone and showed her after. She then went and reported him to the Met police.
Initially Greliak was just charged with sexual assault. 
But weeks before the trial, Juliana watched the video evidence herself and saw that she had been raped. 
She raised it immediately with the police. 
Juliana says her police officer “did not investigate properly”. She received an email at 1:53am telling her she would have her safety button removed.
The police deny they missed the rape. They say: “The victim exercised her right not to hand over digital devices relevant to the investigation, instead sending individual files to the investigation team.”
But Juliana says she handed over her phone twice and laptop once before the rape evidence was found. 
Juliana tracked down other women who had also made claims against Greliak. 
The claims stretch back over 11 years.
Anna said she never felt safe when reporting to the Met. We’ve changed her name to protect her identity.
We asked the Met Police for their response. They said they “are absolutely determined to increase the number of rape perpetrators brought to justice by improving our processes, investigations and victim care, while working with partners across the criminal justice system.
Sexual offence investigations are some of the most complex police deal with. We know there is more to do to increase the number of cases brought before the courts.”

What needs to change?

MP Nadia Whittome has brought up the Met’s ways of working in parliament. 
She thinks there are three things that need to change. 
  1. Inquiry into misogyny - that’s ingrained prejudice against women - within the Met police 
  2. More funding to support victims who report and advise them through the legal process 
  3. Cultural change which means men changing their behaviour towards women 

Who can help?

It’s so important to remember if you’re sexually assaulted there are people who can help you. 
Sexual assault referral centres (SARC) offer all types of support, 24 hours a day. 
Find your nearest one here
It’s best to get medical help as soon as possible for any injuries and you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
You may choose not to report to the police - it’s a personal choice. 
But if you do, try not to wash or change your clothes immediately after a sexual assault. This is probably the first thing you would want to do but it could destroy forensic evidence that could be important. 
And Rape CrisisWomen’s Aid, Victim Support, The Survivors Trust or Male Survivors Partnership are all set to support anyone in need.