COMMENTARY DAILY MAIL: End the horror of sexual assaults in hospitals
Hospitals must be safe havens for patients, visitors and staff.
Many of the people cared for are physically disabled due to illness or injury. Others are elderly or mentally handicapped. Some will be unconscious.
So the revelation that there have been at least 6,539 rapes and assaults, some against children, in the infirmary in just four years is truly appalling.
To make the scandal worse, only a fraction of offenders are ever charged – meaning thousands get away with their heinous crimes. Some will be depraved personnel, others individuals who have crept into hospitals looking for an opportunity to molest.
“The thought of a masked and dressed predator stalking the wards is the stuff for nightmares,” said criminologist Jo Phoenix, a member of the Women’s Rights Network who uncovered the alarming numbers.
(Stock Image) The revelation that at least 6,539 rapes and assaults, some against children, have been committed in the infirmary in just four years is truly appalling
The group is demanding measures to improve safety against sexual assault in hospitals, such as more CCTV, better collection of police data on assaults and NHS trusts, which will make it easier for staff to express their concerns.
That would be a good start. But the government could also mitigate the threat by heeding the Mail’s long-running campaign to end the disgrace of mixed departments.
And health chiefs could limit the dangers by scrapping controversial policies that allow trans women — who may still have male bodies — to be treated in wards reserved for women. The obsession with inclusion should not take precedence over the need to protect women and girls.
Family and friends entrust hospitals with the care of loved ones who are most vulnerable. That so many patients, and the staff who care for them, become victims of sexual assault is a blot on our country.
One of the most chilling aspects of the cases of evil Metropolitan Police officers Wayne Couzens and David Carrick is that they used their warrant cards to gain the trust of their victims.
So it is deeply disturbing to learn that at least 110 officers have been investigated for misuse of their off-duty police badges.
Some attempted to intimidate the public during drunken brawls, evade speeding fines, or approach women inappropriately. Yet many of these miscreants got nothing more than a tick.
If officers feel they can abuse their specially granted powers with impunity, it not only undermines public trust in the police, but also risks encouraging one of them to commit another heinous crime.
Not smart enough
Rishi Sunak is right when he says that drivers have lost faith in ill-advised and dangerous smart highways, where the hard shoulder turns into a traffic lane.
Yet the prime minister is trying to scare the hell out of public opinion by claiming he is scrapping 14 of these deadly roads. In fact, there are only seven.
If new smart highways are deemed too unsafe to be built, there can be no reason to keep the existing ones.
Transportation Secretary Mark Harper could easily make those already in operation safe by turning the inside lane back into an emergency lane. Now that would be smart.
n THE disruption by animal rights protesters at the Grand National was annoying enough. But without our sister newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, tipping the police off about the sabotage plot, the race might have failed. But from what we’ve seen recently, we’re not holding our breath that the anarchists will feel the full weight of the law. Too often the police treat them with velvet gloves, while some judges seem to regard them as kindred spirits. How long should the law-abiding public wait before the book is thrown at these virtue-signaling vandals?