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Serial rapist John Worboys to be released from prison

5 Jan 2018

Yesterday (4th January 2018), it was announced that taxi driver John Worboys, who is believed to have raped more than 100 women, is being released from prison having served less than 10 years of the indeterminate sentence he was handed after conviction for 19 sexual offences in 2009.

Speaking on Channel 4 last night, solicitor Harriet Wistrich, who has represented two of Worboys' victims, made the point that the minimum 8-year term attached to the rapist's sentence represents less than a month in prison for each of the 105 women who came forward to report him to the police, and that there may be many more victims who have not yet reported.

Rape Crisis England & Wales said:

"What's particularly shocking about Worboys' release is the fact that some of his victims were not informed of the Parole Board's decision and had to find out that the man who raped them was being set free via the media.

This is completely unacceptable and Rape Crisis calls on the Parole Board to urgently explain why the statutory rules and procedures around informing victims weren't followed. 

This case reflects more broadly the very serious failures in the criminal justice system when it comes to sexual offences.

Unprecedented numbers of sexual violence victims and survivors have come forward both to report to the police and to seek specialist Rape Crisis services in recent years, and this increase shows no signs of slowing.

Despite this, nowhere near the necessary resources have been put in to making sure these victims and survivors receive both the criminal justice and the specialist support and advocacy they need and deserve. 

Public institutions and society consistently encourage sexual violence victims and survivors to report to the police, often implying it is their moral and public duty to do so. Yet too often when they do, the appropriate and immediate support and advocacy services are not in place.  The criminal justice process takes too long, can be re-traumatising, and sometimes, as this case highlights, even when a dangerous, serial offender is convicted, measures taken to minimise the potential harm they can cause seem severely inadequate."