Women vastly outnumber men in truancy prosecutions

Women vastly outnumber men in truancy prosecutions

According to Ministry of Justice figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request, almost three quarters of those prosecuted for failing to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school were women.

In 2017, approximately 18,380 parents and carers were prosecuted. Women accounted for more than 10,200 prosecutions (71 per cent) of cases where the sex of the defendant was recorded , compared to 4,220 men.

An article in the Independent reveals that in two police force areas, South Wales and Gwent 87 per cent of prosecutions were against women.

Almost three-quarters of fines issued by courts for truancy offences were issued to women in 2017, and 84 per cent of community sentences, such as orders to do unpaid work.

As a strict liability offence, parents can be found guilty even if they did not know about their child’s absence.

Rona Epstein, a lawyer and co-author of a recent study on truancy prosecutions for Coventry University, said the gender gap could not be explained by the number of single mothers alone.

“The gender split would be more than 50 per cent, but it shouldn’t be anything like the numbers we’re seeing.

“A child has two parents, and even in families headed by a single mother most fathers have contact and parental responsibility.

“But there are heterosexual partnerships in which the woman is being targeted, and I just don’t know why that is."

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