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Sexual Offences: Prisons

Volume 497: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many complaints of sexual violence were recorded in prisons in the latest period for which figures are available. (294292)

In the financial year 2008-09, 124 sexual assaults were recorded on the National Offender Management Service’s incident reporting system (IRS). This figure includes proven and unproven allegations and is subject to change because some allegations are removed or reclassified following investigation.

Without cross reference to the police national database, we cannot confirm how many of these original allegations reached a full investigation. Such further information would not prove cost-effective to produce.

Since 2004, a national strategy has directed every public sector prison to have in place a local violence reduction strategy. From mid-2007, this policy has been applied to both the public sector and contracted estate. The strategy requires each prison to undertake regular analysis of the problem areas, consider solutions and provide an action plan to improve personal safety and reduce violence. A whole prison approach is encouraged, engaging all staff, all disciplines and prisoners in challenging unacceptable behaviour, problem-solving and personal safety. This includes environmental and physical measures, as well as alternative ways of managing behaviour.