A survey by the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women claims it has found a crisis of confidence in the city’s police might be stopping victims of sexual crimes from reporting them to the police.
The survey, conducted online by self-report found 67 people who claimed they were victims of sexual violence related to the anti-extradition bill protests gripping the city over the last five months. Among the respondents, only two chose to report the incidents to the police.
The most commonly cited reason was a lack of belief in the effects of reporting it, while the second most common reason was that victims worried they would be charged with other crimes by the police.
The Association found the results to be very worrying, as the scope of crimes alleged was broad, from verbal threats to unlawful intercourse and only very few sought police help. The Association believes the lack of an independent reporting mechanism would cause a panic and endanger social stability.
“Considering the absence of mutual trust among different political camps at the moment, we believe that the government should establish an independent commission of inquiry into the sexual violence incidents in relation to the “Anti-ELAB” movement.” said Linda Wong Sau-ying, Executive Director of the Association, also calling for victims to have alternative, non police channels to report crimes and receive proper forensic examination.
Speaking to Young Post, Dr Oliver Chan Heng-choon, an expert in criminology and sexual violence at City University said if trust in the police is low, the proportion of people willing to stand up and speak out might be low too. “I can understand why victims wouldn’t speak.” he said.
“It is a valid concern. For victims to speak up, there should be a trusted and neutral intermediary,” Chan said “We don’t have one right now.”