Rishi announces major crackdown on sex offenders to protect women and girls

  • New emergency taskforce to hunt down grooming gangs with tough new sentences to land predators behind bars for longer
  • Creation of a new ‘down-blousing’ offence to protect women from perverts’ abuse
  • Extension of mental health support for rape victims for life and same-sex spaces to all survivors of sexual violence

Rishi Sunak has pledged to hunt down and stamp out grooming gangs who prey on children and young women and make their ringleaders subject to maximum life sentences.

Members of grooming rings will automatically face criminal charges for belonging to or facilitating the activity of the gang, with those at its heart facing life sentences.

In a further crackdown on sex offenders, Rishi will ban so-called ‘down-blousing,’ where perpetrators takes photos down a woman's top without their consent to curb abuse targeted at women and bring more offenders to justice.

Rishi will set up a new emergency taskforce working at the heart of the National Crime Agency to launch an investigation into any town or city where significant grooming gang activity has been found and root it out.

Under his plans, suspects will be forced to explain why they have the phone numbers or contact details of children. They will also have to reveal their ethnicity or nationality for the purposes of crime prevention.

He will also launch a National Grooming Gangs Whistleblower Network to gather intelligence on gangs and create a dedicated database to help the police monitor suspects. He will boost training for frontline police to help them identify victims of grooming gangs and remind officers to serve without fear or favour, including the fear of being accused of racism.

Rishi will give the Justice Secretary a final say over parole decisions for dangerous criminals. His government will personally review and consider denying parole for any gang member convicted of rape who still posed a risk after serving their sentence.

He will pass the Bill of Rights to help prevent any foreign perpetrators using the Human Rights Act to frustrate their deportation orders.

He will also build on the support for victims he has funded in government - £192 million a year by 2024-25 including funding 1,000 sexual violence advisers - by extending mental health support for rape victims to be available to them for life. He will also ensure all survivors of sexual violence have access to same-sex spaces.

Rishi Sunak said:

“Sexual violence against women and girls should be treated as a national emergency until it has been defeated. As a father of two girls, I want them to be able to go for a walk in the evening or to a shop at night without any fear of threat. 

“As Chancellor I boosted support for victims to record levels – quadruple those under Labour – and a ground-breaking new approach to policing which is helping drive up prosecutions of sex offenders.

“As Prime Minister I will go further. I will make it a criminal offence if you harass women by taking intimate images of them without their consent and will introduce a major crackdown on grooming gangs. 

“We can not let sensitivities over race stop us from catching dangerous criminals who prey on women and I will not stop until we live in a society where women and girls can go about their daily lives feeling safe and secure.”