According to an inquiry into the latest crime trends in Cornwall, reports of sexual offences have risen by 4% in Cornwall in the last year.
Given that women are five times more likely to be victims of sexual trauma than their male counterparts, calls to make the Duchy a safer space for women have formed part of the ongoing conversation surrounding female safety across the UK, instigated by the murder of Sarah Everard.
With recent appaling headlines, perhaps it would have been more beneficial for Truro City Council (with Cornwall Council) to put funds towards providing lighting from Boscawen Woods Estate to Sunny Corner for the safety of women and elderly in particular.
— P Cornish (@PCornish5) March 12, 2021
In 2020, there were over 4,000 cases of reported sexual violence, stalking and harassment in Cornwall, with 482 rapes reported in 2020.
Although these statistics are below the national average, with sexual offences at 2.3 per 1,000 residents in Cornwall and 2.7 per 1,000 residents in England and Wales, there has still been an overall increase of 4% in reports of sexual offences. The Guardian suggested earlier this week that Police could patrol nightclubs to protect women and other safety measures should be introduced to allow women to feel safe around the Country.
29% of all sexual offences were recorded as historic suggesting that as the dialogue opens around female sexual trauma, more victims have felt safe to report the crimes committed against them. This also offers an explanation for the increase in reports.
However, these statistics are clearly still cause for concern and should be used to help residents realise the importance of ensuring the safety of their female friends wherever possible.
For the most part very safe… but there are still things that as a woman I wouldn't do without caution that my husband wouldn't have to think twice about – walking the dog alone in the dark for example.
— Charlie Lucas (@Skenterly) March 15, 2021
This does not just apply to walking home, taking public transport or at work, but women need to feel safe within their own homes too.
Annual crime rates domestic abuse in Cornwall currently accounts for 22% of all crime committed. Given that ONS statistics show women are twice as likely to be a victim of domestic abuse than their male counterparts, it is evident that intervention is necessary to decrease these statistics.
In light of highlighting female safety across the UK, a petition has been launched to require local authorities to find specific domestic abuse services for women
It is hoped that in light of the murder of Sarah Everard, women will also feel comfortable to come forward and report their personal trauma in a safe environment.
@womenscentrecornwall Statement on Women’s Safety – 18 March 2021
— The Women's Centre Cornwall (@WomensCCornwall) March 18, 2021
For those struggling with any sexual trauma, Gather Cornwall offer ‘space for survivors to connect with others who understand the challenges of navigating life after sexual trauma, and build lasting support networks within their own community.’
This includes peer-led support gatherings for survivors to talk openly with others that can relate to their trauma and trauma-informed restorative yoga groups. During Covid, the support network running at a reduced capacity but there are also an array of online resources to help trauma victims, including an interactive WhatsApp group to share podcasts and questions with respective interest.
If you have been affected by any information within this article, please find resources available on Gather Cornwall or call the National Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. All calls are confidential and the line remains open 24 hours a day to support you at any time of need.