Police forces in the UK are now allowing convicted male rapists to be recorded as being female if they no longer identify as their recorded sex at birth.
Six constabularies, including Thames Valley and South Yorkshire, are revealed to have introduced the practice, which allows sex offenders to register as a different gender identity on their official database, which is used by the Home Office.
As per the MailOnline, this information was revealed as part of a Freedom of Information request by women’s rights group Fair Play for Women (FPW), on how police compile official records.
Within the request, it was hinted Suffolk, Norfolk, Kent, Durham and British Transport Police all record gender to match the requests of the offender.
While this will appear as a positive, liberal approach in some people’s eyes, it has been criticised by FPW, who say it’s offensive to female victims to say their attacker was female.
Nicole Williams, director of FPW, told the Sunday Times:
You can’t get much more of a male crime than rape.
It would be highly offensive to a woman who was raped to have it written down that her attacker was a female when clearly that was a male with a penis.
In law, rape is defined as ‘intentional penetration of another person with a penis without consent’ under the Sexual Offences Act, and as a result females cannot be charged with rape, but can instead face sexual offence charges.
There’s a gap in current legislation regarding transgender women who are legally classed as a female but still have male reproductive organs.
On FPW’s website, the organisation references a male-born transgender prisoner called Karen White, who was placed in a female prison and went on to sexually assault two women inmates. White was convicted nearly a year later, alongside two historic rapes.
However, when news of White’s offences became public, the justice minister put this down to a ‘procedural error’ rather than a policy failure, as FPW believes it to be.
The concern is offenders will change their gender to commit further offences, rather than to identify as their true gender.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council said:
How gender is recorded is a matter for each individual force. However, as a general rule we will accept the details that an individual provides us and treat them accordingly.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.