26% Increase In Sexual Offences Against Young Women In Lewisham

Young women are increasingly subject to violent and sexual offences in Lewisham, as sexual offences against women of all ages in Lewisham rise.

By Storm, 14, and Jada, 13 · September 30, 2019

Sexual and violent offences against young women are on the rise in Lewisham.

Sexual offences towards women between the ages of 11-20 increased 26% between 2016 and 2018, according to data sourced via an Freedom of Information request.

The borough has also seen a 12% increase in sexual offences towards women of all ages, growing from 629 offences in 2017 to 703 offences in 2018.

Sexual and violent crime against women in Lewisham made up 10% of overall crime in the borough in 2018.

Pic: Wikimedia Commons / Austen Redman

What is the history of cases like this in Lewisham?

15-year-old Rochelle Holness was raped and dismembered in Lewisham in 2005. Her body was later found in the bin chute of Milford Towers, near her home. John McGrady, who was later convicted for her death, had a pre-existing record for violent and sexual assaults against women.

In 2013, a 22-year-old Sami Tesafay, from Lewisham, was found guilty of the rape of a 12-year-old he had groomed online. In 2018, a 19-year-old was raped by Rhys Miller-Offiong, 24, also from Lewisham, after he blackmailed her. In addition to the rape and blackmail charges, he was also later sentenced for four counts of distributing indecent images of children, amongst other charges.

What do people say?

Katie Russell, a spokesperson for Rape Crisis, said: “These figures suggest a very striking increase in violent and sexual offences against women, and young women and girls in particular, over the past year.”

“Because the Government’s own statistics show that rape and other sexual offences are historically and chronically under-reported crimes, however, it is very likely that this data reflects an increased willingness on the part of victims and survivors to report to the police, rather than an increase in the number of offences actually being perpetrated.”

Russell added, “Increased reporting can imply gradually increasing confidence in the criminal justice system, which could be seen as a positive trend. But it’s important to remember that the vast majority of those who are raped or sexually assaulted still choose not to report to the police at all.

“Criminal justice outcomes around sexual violence and abuse are far too low and the system is currently failing victims and survivors, in multiple ways and at every stage of the process. The current Government review, which Rape Crisis has called for for many years, must lead to real change. Victims and survivors deserve better.”

The Metropolitan Police did not provide a comment.

Why did students cover this story?

Storm, 14, and Jada, 13, from London, chose to write about this topic as they felt it was “an issue that will affect many of us in our lifetimes and yet it’s still a taboo subject to discuss. Yet more and more women are subject to unwanted attention and crimes of a violent and sexual nature. They added, “Many girls are unaware of how serious of an issue sexual violence is.”