Suella Braverman has said the practice of labeling rape suspects as women is wrong. Last year, she told police forces they should take a “common sense” approach to policing.
She told The Telegraph earlier this year that “in no case” was it biologically or legally correct for a rapist to be described as “she”.
“Not only is that wrong because a woman cannot legally be a rapist, but it is also tremendously insensitive and insulting to rape victims who are biological women,” she said.
A source close to Ms Braverman said: “Only men can be rapists and official police information should reflect that, where appropriate, anything else is nonsense.”
Campaigners say the system is an “insult” to victims of sexual violence and means data is “useless” for assessing risk and tackling crime.
The figures will increase pressure on the Government to force police to record a suspect’s biological sex rather than allowing them to decide what gender they are, as such data is replicated throughout the criminal justice system.
In response to an FoI request, the CPS revealed that, since 2019, around 1.5 per cent of rape suspects referred for a charging decision were recorded by police as “female” and around 1.2 per percent as “unknown.”
The number of alleged rapists with an “unknown” gender has increased from around one or two a year a decade ago to 71 referrals last year.
Figures show that in 2019, police referred 40 “women” to the CPS for rape and 17 were charged. In 2020, 56 were referred and prosecutors decided to charge 46. In 2021, they received 81 referrals and charged 29, and in 2022 they had 64 referrals and charged 26.
Between January and March of this year, according to the latest data available, 19 “women” suspected of rape were referred and five were charged. The figures reflect the gender recorded by police forces across the country.
Guidance on the CPS website states that rape involves penetration “by a penis, so a woman can only commit this offense as an accomplice”.
Documented cases of women accused of being accomplices are rare.
“Absolute travesty for the victims”
The latest figures come despite the Home Office telling police forces they should record the biological sex of offenders rather than their self-declared gender identity.
However, it remains voluntary guidance and there is no date for when the order will become mandatory. How gender is recorded depends on each individual force.
Research by Keep Prisons Single Sex, a campaign group, shows that last year, of the 26 forces that responded to its freedom of information requests, 22 recorded sex based on a person’s gender identity, and 20 of they did it on that basis, as the person wanted. identify.
Of the 13 forces that answered questions about non-binary suspects, seven forces recorded them in a third category that includes “other.”
Dr Kate Coleman, director of the KPSS, said “data becomes useless”, making it impossible to “formulate an appropriate response at any level of criminal justice”.
“The sex recorded at birth is the most prominent variable of crime and risk,” he said. “Deciding to record someone as something else and then pretending it’s sex is just ridiculous.
“It is also an absolute travesty for the victims. If these are men registered as women, then these victims have had the most harrowing, visceral and accurate experience of that person’s sex registered at birth. To have that disguised as not really, that she is a woman, is a complete betrayal.”
Police and prosecutors have repeatedly been criticized for cases where rapists were allowed to identify themselves as women in court proceedings.
Convicted pedophile Karen White, who was born Stephen Wood, was accused of repeatedly raping a woman in 2016 while undergoing gender reassignment, but before undergoing full surgery.
Appearing at Leeds Crown Court in 2018, White pleaded guilty to two counts of rape. During the case, White was referred to as a woman, and prosecutors even referred to her “his penis.”