What is to be done to improve prosecution for rape?Which assumes that there’s something that does, indeed, need to ‘be done’.
First we heard that the coalition had plans, later discontinued, to grant anonymity for those accused of rape; then, last month, that the scheduled government review into how the police handle rape cases had been scrapped. It seems we are going backwards in terms of finding an effective way to deal with rape…We have an effective way - prison for the convicted offender.
One review of the rate of attrition in reported rape cases, published by the Home Office in 2005, scrutinised 677 rape allegations made over a period of two months in the same year. It found that the vast majority of complainants – 87% – had at least one additional factor of so-called vulnerability, such as being a child under the age of 18; suffering from mental ill health; intoxicated at the time of the alleged attack; or in an abusive relationship with the accused.All of which, as pointed out to her many, many times by the commenters, help to blur the ‘consent’ angle. And it’s not clear that there’s anything that could change that, given that consent is usually the disputed factor.
The CPS will only take a case to court if it has a "reasonable chance of conviction", which means that those cases involving complicated factors, such as a previous sexual history between the complainant and suspect, often do not even get an airing.And yet, the CPS still takes cases like this one to court. Explain that, Bindel, if you can…
Despite massive reforms there still exists a culture within the police that assumes that women who report rape are lying.Well, that’s because some of them are. That’s why we need to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that an offence has actually occurred.
The police service is the only public body that is exempt from being sued in the civil court for negligence. In a recent House of Lords case, the late Lord Bingham was outvoted by four other judges in considering whether the police should no longer be immune from being held accountable in this way. Nothing will significantly change unless the commissioner or chief constable ceases to have this unjustifiable protection from the courts. If the police budget were to become vulnerable to compensation claims, it might result in systems being put into place to root out incompetence and prejudicial attitudes towards vulnerable complainants.So the key to ensuring more alleged rape cases result in a conviction is to allow every ambulance-chasing lawyer and pressure group to further denude the police of vital resources defending themselves in frivolous court cases?
I can’t quite see it, somehow….