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While the former UK police officer who murdered Sarah Everard is scheduled to be sentenced, women in the United Kingdom still feel unsafe.
Wayne Couzens is expected to be sentenced this week after pleading guilty in July to kidnapping and raping Everard, 33, as she walked home in South London in March. He pleaded guilty to her murder in August. Couzens cause of death was found to be compression of the neck.
Her killing led to protests and clashes with police at a March vigil for the slain woman, NBC reported. Many protesters expressed the need for change to law enforcement that would keep women safer.
Experts there say there is still a long way to go.
“We are nowhere near ending violence against women and girls,” Rebecca Hitchen, head of policy and campaigns at U.K.’s End Violence Against Women Coalition, told NBC News. “All we want is for our organization not to have to exist anymore, but we are so far away from that being a reality.”
Since Everard’s slaying, 80 women have been murdered in the UK by men or in situations when a male was the primary suspect, Counting Dead Women, a group that tracks female killings in the U.K. reports. Prosecutions and convictions for rape have fallen heavily since 2016 in the region. A government review released in June showed that prosecutions of rape fell by 59 percent and convictions by 47 percent. The government apologized to rape survivors following the report’s release.
“Even if somebody was raped and they caught the offender immediately, it might take four years to get to court,” Elizabeth Stanko, a retired criminology professor at the Royal Holloway University of London, told NBC News. “That's just ridiculous.”
She called the justice system “slow and clunky.”
Meanwhile, the violence against women continues.
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