Reported sexual offences in prisons; the experiences of adult male prisoner complainants and the response of the prison service and the police.

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Southampton

Principal Researcher

Jo Wilkinson

Level of Research


Project Start Date

September 2013

Research Context

​There is very little UK based research on the context and investigation of reports of rape or sexual assault in adult prisons. Policy-making has focused on developing protocols for operational considerations and responsibilities for responding to disorder and deaths in prison and little attention has been paid to the reporting and investigation of sexual offences and rape in prisons. A body of knowledge exists on the effectiveness of police investigations and the attrition rate in rape and sexual assault cases outside of prison environments but this has not extended to investigations within a prison context.

Research Methodology

​Study 1 - analysis of the National Offender Management Incident Reporting DatA (2002 - 2012) to identify descriptive statistical trends in reporting and recording of sexual offences in adult male prisons in England and Wales to inform the  development of an attrition model.
Study 2 - in depth coding and qualitative analysis of 940 recorded cases of sexual assault incident descriptions.  These incident descriptions have been recorded by prison officers and staff to describe the nature of the incident, providing more detailed information about the nature of sexual offending in prisons which is additional to the published Safety in Custody Statistical bulletins.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

January 2021
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