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Finally, the BBC gets a sex attacker’s pronouns right | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #hacking | #aihp



Unlike Isla Bryson, Andrew Miller is being referred to as a man

by Joan Smith

Andrew Miller also called himself Amy George

Everything about the case is horrendous. The ordeal of the victim, a primary school girl who was abducted from the street and sexually assaulted over 27 hours, hardly bears thinking about. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of an admission that the attacker, who is “transitioning” to be a woman, is biologically male.

“Man abducted and sexually assaulted schoolgirl while dressed as a woman”, was the BBC’s headline. It used the pronoun “he” throughout, signifying a welcome return to common sense. As recently as January, reports of the trial of a double rapist in Glasgow enraged readers when they used female pronouns and the nonsensical phrase “her penis”. 

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The 53-year-old defendant in the latest case, Andrew Miller, calls himself Amy George. He was wearing women’s clothes when he spotted the girl, who had missed her bus, and offered her a lift. The girl got into the car, believing Miller to be a woman and therefore not a threat. Instead of driving her home, he took her to his bungalow near Galashiels and repeatedly assaulted her.

At this point, I have to resist the temptation to write in block capitals: is anyone in the Scottish Government paying attention? Miller is exactly the kind of sexual predator we warned MSPs and policymakers about when they pushed an unpopular gender reform bill through the Scottish Parliament in December. We said that some men would pretend to be women to get access to victims or be housed in a women’s prison. They said “it never happens”. 

It’s happened twice since then, and those are only the cases we’ve heard about. Adam Graham, the double rapist who calls himself Isla Bryson and claims to be transitioning, spent a night in a women’s prison before an outcry got him moved into the male estate. Let’s hope that Miller serves whatever sentence he gets in a men’s jail. Had the Gender Recognition Reform Bill become law, there would be nothing to stop him applying for a certificate declaring his legal sex to be female — and demanding to be moved to the female estate.

Unlike Bryson, Miller agreed to appear in court under his male name and use male pronouns. That means his crime will be recorded as having been committed by a male defendant, unlike previous cases where statistics have been rendered unreliable by recording convicted sex offenders as women. It’s progress of a sort, but it highlights another potential problem in relation to transgender offenders.

A man who leaves prison and gets a gender recognition certificate in a new female name is obliged to reveal his previous identity and convictions to the disclosure and barring (DBS) service when he applies for a job working with children or vulnerable adults. But what if he doesn’t? The onus is on him to be honest, leading the Conservative MP Miriam Cates to condemn a “loophole” in the DBS system.

Miller’s guilty plea will have come as a relief to his victim and her family, but the case raises a huge red flag over the practice of telling children to respect other people’s “gender identity”. Such advice breaks one of the most basic rules of safeguarding, which is that everyone needs to be able to make an accurate assessment of risk. A man who “presents” as a woman is still a man — and biological males, no matter how they “identify”, are much more likely to commit sex offences than women.

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