This post has also been published on Feminist Critics.
On the 22nd of April I wrote a post titled UK: CSEW doesn’t count all sexual offences on my blog detailing how this UK survey doesn’t capture victims of “being made to penetrate” as defined in the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 Section 4.4 (c)(d). The post was based on an analysis I did last year for comments on FeministCritics, Genderratic and Heteronormative Patriarchy for men.
I also wrote an e-mail to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) asking whether my conclusion that these victims aren’t captured by the survey is correct and if so; will they make changes to future CSEW to capture those victims?
Here is the letter I sent on the 24th of April:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to enquire about some details on what sexual offences the Crime Sruvey for England and Wales (CSEW) covers and how it covers them.
I was reading the latest CSEW a while back and noticed that the ‘Serious sexual assault’ category only had two sub-categories: ‘Rape’ and ‘assault by penetration’. These two corresponds with Sexual Offences Act of 2003 Part 1 Section 1 and 2 respectively. Both can be punished with imprisonment for life and indeed are serious sexual offences.
There are however another sexual offence punishable by imprisonment for life which is absent from the CSEW as far as I can see – and that is forcing a person to penetrate someone else. This offence is defined in Sexual Offences Act of 2003 Section 4.4 (c) and (d) and it can be punished with imprisonment for life and can certainly be said to be a serious sexual offence based on what punishment the perpetrator is liable to get. It is also a sexual offence I have personally been a victim of – hence my interest in this. I also looked at the questionnaire for the CSEW and could not find any questions relating to the sexual offence defined in SOA 2003 Section 4.4 (c) and (d). I also read the ‘Analysis of the 2010/11 British Crime Survey intimate personal violence split-sample experiment’ document to see if the alternative question set would capture this sexual offence without finding any sign of questions being designed to capture victims of this particular sexual offence.
It appears to me that CSEW does not capture/count victims of a sexal offence punishable with imprisonment for life.
An US national survey titled NISVS 2010 by the CDC found that 4.8% of men reported being made to penetrate someone else in their lifetime while 1.1% reported being made to penetrate someone else in the last 12 months. This indicate that this type of victimization is not extremely rare. and that it would be proper to include those victims in a national crime survey reporting sexual offences victimizations.
Here are my questions which I hope you can answer for me:
Can you confirm that CSEW does not capture/count victims of the sexual offence described in SOA 2003 Section 4.4 (c) and (d)?
If you confirm that CSEW does not capture these victims: Will there be any plans/revisions to the questionnaire to ensure that those victims are counted and categorized appropriately?
If you think CSEW capture/counts these victims: Can you describe exactly how they are counted (which questions etc.) and how they are reported?
Thank you for your patience and cooperation. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sexual Offences Act 2003 Section 4: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/4
Analysis of the 2010/11 British Crime Survey intimate personal violence split-sample experiment: http://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/116718/analysis-bcs-ipv-2011.pdf
On the 28th of April I got a reply where ONS confirms that CSEW does not capture these victims and that they will be looking into adding questions to capture these in future surveys:
Thank you for contacting the crime statistics team. I can confirm that the CSEW does not currently capture victims of the sexual offence in Section 4.4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. I have looked into the figures you quoted from the US national survey NISVS and the definitions and questions they used.
Every year the CSEW undergoes questionnaire development where new questions can be added to the survey. Now you have bought it to our attention that we do not cover this sexual offence we will look into adding some questions to the survey during the next questionnaire development in order to ensure that this can be captured in future.
Crime Statistics and Analysis | Office for National Statistics
Below are screenshots of the e-mail (with my name redacted):