Prison rape reports jump

Prison rape reports jump

Reports of sexual assault in prisons have risen since a support program by Justice Health was rolled out three years ago.

Presenting at the Sexual Health Conference in Perth last week, Justice Health sexual health coordinator Jenny Douglas said the true number of victims and unwanted sexual activity still isn’t known.

Anecdotally, sexual assault occurs very frequently in prisons and [Southern Cross University academic] David Heilpern’s research in 1994-95 confirmed this, Douglas submitted.

However, since then there has been little reliable data available to provide accurate figures.

There are numerous reasons why people do not report sexual assault in custody ranging from fear of reprisals to feelings that the victims will not be believed and nothing will happen anyway.

In response, Justice Health developed an education program for prison workers to increase awareness and a profile of the typical victim of sexual assault in custody.

However, UNSW associate professor Juliet Richters said sexual assaults were still quite rare based on her telephone survey of men in NSW prisons.

We’ve shown that the whole belief that young and attractive people are likely to be raped in jail is a bit of a myth, Richters was reported as saying.

Consensual sex among men in custody was also infrequent, Richters said, but surprisingly high among women.

The survey found almost a third of women in custody identify as bisexual or lesbian.

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2 responses to “Prison rape reports jump”

  1. The title does not seem to be justified by the text. Where is there data for a “jump”? There are claims of little reliable data since 1995, and rare accounts of disclosure in another survey and anecodatal accounts of high frequency that are not claimed to have increased since 1995. Did Justice Health really respond to Douglas’ presentation last week with an education program for prison workers? Seems the reporter was affected by the ‘cone of silence’ of the prison system. Or was it just stigma?

    Moderator: The education program was rolled out three years ago.

  2. Remember Prisoner the series, “No Lagging” “Never tell a screw nothing about nothing” I presume that system of silence still exists!