Saturday, 16 August 2008

Blaming rape victims is unacceptable

In the past year, a Great Britain government office considered 15 rape victims to be partially responsible for the assault because they had been drinking alcohol. These 15 victims' standard Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) payout of £11,000 was reduced by up to 25 percent because they had consumed alcohol prior to being raped. One victim said that "I felt like I was being punished . . . It was like going back to the '70s, saying 'she was asking for it.'"

Although the CICA has since reversed its decision in her case because she challenged the decision legally, the agency is refusing to open the other 14 cases for review unless the victims in question ask for it. But challenges must be brought within 90 days, meaning many of the women's opportunities to do so have already passed.

Its also true that the conviction rate varies enormously depending which region you are in, the Fawcett Commission report on Women and the Criminal Justice System identified regional variations across England and Wales. Under 14% of all rape cases in Northants lead to a conviction compared to under one per cent in Gloucs.

We have a postcode lottery for other aspects of life in Britain, this one proves how the way police treat the case affects the outcome. In many areas rape crisis centres do not exist or rape victims are facing waiting lists of many months. We deserve a better criminal justice system,

The best
Northants: 13.79%
Cumbria: 12.79%
South Wales: 12.18%
South Yorkshire: 10.74%

The worst
Gloucestershire: 0.86%
Suffolk: 1.6%
Cambs: 1.75%
Humberside: 2.85%


Ailbhe said...

Women who have been raped are OVERFLOWING with the emotional and physical energy to fight the justice system when it decides against them! Everyone knows that!

I think the woman who did get her comp sorted out is an absolute hero.

Why isn't that "Alcohol Aware" poster captioned "IT IS ILLEGAL TO RAPE THIS WOMAN"?

Adrian Windisch said...

The poster was on the back of a Reading bus. Its meant to discourage people from getting drunk, but I suspect it puts other thoughts into some peoples minds.

Ailbhe said...

Like most of the tactics used to reduce rape and violence against women, it puts the onus on women to change their behaviour, not on, say, rapists. Which would be a really strange thing to do.