The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that, since the pandemic, the number of cases of harassment and stalking has spiked in both England and Wales by a staggering 31%.
Offences that mostly target women were on the rise
Interestingly, nearly all other crime rates went down in 2020. This news comes after the murder of Sarah Everard who went missing in South London earlier this month.
In England and Wales, stalking and harassment offences increased from around 118,500 in April to June 2019 to around 142,000 over the same months in 2020. And between the months of June and September the figures rose to even higher rates at around 163,000 offences having been committed.
Violence against women
Over the weekend, policeman Wayne Couzens was arrested on suspicion of murdering 33-year-old Everard after her body was found in Kent leaving many women to question their own experiences with harassment and stalking.
Virtual vigils were planned throughout the globe this past weekend in memory of Everard with the aim to 'reclaim the streets' with one one in particular that was planned to take place in Clapham before being cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Reclaim the Streets event's description read:
We believe that streets should be safe for women, regardless of what you wear, where you live or what time of day or night it is We shouldn't have to wear bright colours when we walk home and clutch our keys in our fists to feel safe. It's wrong that the response to violence against women requires women to behave differently.
And in response to the cancellation, it added:
In Clapham, police told women not to go out at night this week. Women are not the problem. We've all been following the tragic case of Sarah Everard over the last week.