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Publisher’s data chief honoured after fight to get justice for BAME rape victims

Harriet Clugston 1An editorial chief at a regional publisher has won a national award for her work in exposing a failure to get justice for sexual and domestic violence victims from ethnic minorities.

The Royal Statistical Society has awarded National World data and investigations editor Harriet Clugston with the Investigative Journalism prize at its Statistical Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Harriet won the award for her exclusive investigation, which revealed for the first time how black, Asian and minority ethnic victims of sexual and domestic violence are much less likely to see their abusers charged than white victims.

This information is not routinely published and had to be obtained through Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the UK.

The investigation was later cited by the End Violence Against Women Coalition in evidence submitted to a Home Affairs Committee enquiry into rape.

The award judges said: “This project, through the use of FoI requests, exposed a justice gap with the vast majority of UK police forces having lower charge rates when the victim was from an ethnic minority background.

“This investigation, the first time such cases had been analysed by victim ethnicity, shed light on a considerable data gap within the UK justice systems.

“The panel was impressed with the way in which the data was sourced and used to highlight how such an important issue had been overlooked.”

Harriet said: “I am so delighted and grateful that the RSS has recognised this project.

“I hope that besides exposing the justice gap victims from minority backgrounds face, the story also spoke to why data gaps matter, and to the importance of the police rigorously collecting information on protected characteristics.

“This is the only way that shortcomings can be identified, and the criminal justice system held accountable.

“Gathering this data was a very difficult and lengthy process – but it’s my hope that in future we’ll see such figures collected, published and reflected on proactively, so it is not left to journalists to hold a mirror up to police failings.”