JUSTICE SEX AND GENDER: It matters to record whether a rapist is male

By Democrat reporter

Assault and domestic abuse are overwhelmingly male [crimes] and the victims are overwhelmingly female, Labour MSP Johann Lamont pointed out to members of the Scottish Parliament.

She asked: “Given the recognised approach of prevention through education, protection through legislation and provision through support for women victims, how can the Scottish Government measure the scale of offending by men and any success in tackling that behaviour without collecting data on the sex of the offender?

“Does the cabinet secretary agree that it matters to record whether a rapist is male?”

Ms Lamont, pictured above with her husband Archie, wanted to know what involvement the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and his officials had in the development of the draft guidance on collecting data on sex and gender.

The SNP Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf told her: “The sex and gender in data working group is led by and reports to Scotland’s chief statistician. The draft guidance has been developed by the chief statistician in consultation with members of the working group and through engagement with stakeholders.

“The work of the group is transparent, and details of group membership as well as papers and minutes are published online. Membership relevant to the justice portfolio includes an official from the Scottish Government family law unit as well as representatives from the Scottish Prison Service and Police Scotland.”

He added: “I am happy to correct the record if I am incorrect, but my understanding is that, although Police Scotland may well record somebody’s gender, there are exceptions to that, and one of those would be in a case of rape, in which somebody is recorded by their biological sex.

“Of course, there are certain elements to the offence of rape that can be carried out only by those who were born male or who are post-operation trans male. I will double-check that and provide clarification to Johann Lamont.

On the broader point that Ms Lamont raises, she is absolutely right: domestic abuse is largely a crime that is committed by men towards female victims. The data that is currently gathered bears that out. The draft guidance says that it is up to organisations to decide whether to record the gender or the sex of the person concerned, but there are exceptions that organisations can make, depending on the circumstances.

As I said, it is draft guidance, and stakeholder responses are still being made. I encourage Johann Lamont, if she has not already done so, to respond by giving her views on the matter to the chief statistician.”

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