Newspaper review: Papers focus on rape statistics


The Independent uses its front page to highlight what it describes as the justice system's failure to protect women - and men - from sexual assault.

It reports that research by the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Office for National Statistics suggests that about 1,000 rapists are convicted every year despite up to 95,000 people being subjected to rape.

It illustrates the discrepancy with the use of a powerful graphic.

Most of the front page is filled with symbols of people representing rape victims.

Only a very small section of people in the corner of the page are coloured red to represent the number who are convicted.

The Times, which has also been looking at the figures, says that one in 20 women in Britain is raped or suffers a serious sexual assault under the age of 60.

The Sun believes the statistics are almost as shocking as the despicable offences themselves.

Birth rates

The Daily Telegraph reports that ministers have admitted for the first time that illegal abortion on the grounds of gender may be taking place within immigrant communities.

An official analysis of birth statistics found signs that birth rates for girls and boys varied noticeably according to where their mothers were born.

Health minister Earl Howe said the differences among mothers of certain nationalities may "fall outside the range considered possible without intervention".

"Enough to make you shudder" is the Daily Mail's front page headline as it warns that temperatures are set to plunge to -10C (14F).

The paper says the cold snap will put huge pressure on the elderly who are increasingly fearful of turning up their heating because of the soaring cost.

The Daily Telegraph says a blast of wind from the Baltic is responsible for the cold snap which the government is warning could cause "significant health risks" for the elderly.

The Daily Express claims Britain is braced for a deadly cocktail of cold, snow and ice.

Europe warning

The Guardian is just one of the papers to report that former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has accused David Cameron of "social engineering" by pressing ahead with plans to allow gay marriage.

In a letter to 60 constituents who had voiced concerns about gay marriage, Mr Fox describes the proposals as "divisive, ill thought through and constitutionally wrong".

The Times leads with the warning from a senior German diplomat that David Cameron's hopes of negotiating looser ties between Britain and Brussels are all but impossible.

It comes a day after a similar intervention from Washington.

The Daily Mail believes these are timed to undermine Mr Cameron's speech on the EU later this month.

But the Guardian welcomes them - and warns that the country is at risk of allowing itself to be stampeded by the Tory party and the Europhobic press into abandoning its place in Europe.

Scales of justice

The Sun on its front page has a before and after picture of a shih-tzu dog which was shaved by a jealous boyfriend.

The Sun and the Daily Telegraph report that the dog's owner was planning to enter her pet into Crufts.

But when her boyfriend thought she was lying to him he used clippers and scissors to cut the fur off the dog.

The man admitted to magistrates that he had over-reacted "on a large scale".

The offender has been given a curfew and fitted with an electronic tag.

Most of the papers cover the case of an angler who won first prize in a competition in Guernsey after claiming to catch a bass weighing nearly a stone.

But the Times says another contestant realised he had seen the fish somewhere before - in the local aquarium.

The angler was arrested before he could collect his prize and has been ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

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