Rape survivors still being failed
Posted on February 28, 2012
As if Brian Paddick’s revelation yesterday that he had been “asked to “water-down” a report critical of the Met’s handling of rape cases” wasn’t bad enough, now comes news that police forces up and down the country are still disproportionately no-criming rape cases in comparison to other crimes of violence:
“The study discloses that 2,131 reported rape offences were officially logged as “no crimes” in 2010-11 in England and Wales – nearly 12% of all recorded rape cases. It also shows there is still a wide variation in “no crime” rates between police forces, from 30% in Kent to 2.4% in Gloucestershire.
The inspectorates say that a rape that has been reported and then recorded as a crime should only be “no-crimed” if the victim states that it did not happen, and even then further verifiable information is needed to support this, “because our experience shows that victims may withdraw allegations because they cannot face the criminal justice process”.
I already pretty much covered this back in September when the BBC obtained the same no-crime figures for rape after submitting a Freedom of Information application, so have a read of that post – Disparities in Rape Crime Figures – for a more in depth analysis of what this all means.
Meanwhile the latest joint report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorates of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service on rape investigation and prosecution – Forging the Links: Rape Investigation and Prosecution – has now been published.
But let’s not forget it’s not only the police who are letting survivors down. Just last week for instance Judge David Farrell QC gave two men greatly reduced sentences (40 months each for a crime that would normally attract a sentence of between 10 and 13 years) for raping an 11 year old girl, on the grounds that “he accepted their claim that she was a willing participant and agreed that she looked like she was 14.” Mind you this is the same judge who a year ago gave a suspended sentence to a serial domestic abuser – Man punched fiancée in drunken rage after boozing for 15 hours on Christmas Day – so this leniency towards violent men isn’t exactly out of character for him.
It was also reported last week that a conservative councillor at Peterborough City Council, Fran Benton, had quit the party after “claiming she was “made to feel like an embarrassment” after being kidnapped and raped.”
And they wonder why so few women and girls are prepared to report rape and other crimes of sexual violence…..
Mumsnet will be launching a campaign soon on this issue called (I think) ‘we believe you‘ – see Bidisha’s post for further details. Suffice to say it’s a campaign I’m more than happy to endorse: I’ll no doubt be blogging more about it once it’s up and running.
The Rape Crisis National Freephone Helpline is open from 12-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm every day of the year: you can call them on 0808 802 9999