On Tuesday, the charity Women Against Rape (War) is taking its campaign to the House of Commons, where some of those who have been jailed for lying about rape allegations will speak out against their treatment by the authorities.‘Their treatment’ being their just punishment for committing a crime and being found guilty in a court of law.
A US law professor, who will be speaking at the Commons, said the UK’s stance on false allegations is more aggressive than in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. Prof Lisa Avalos, of the University of Arkansas, said false allegations in the US were dealt with as a misdemeanour offence, not a felony – and most women were not jailed if found guilty.
“In the course of my research I have not found any country that pursues these cases against women rape complainants in the way the UK does. The UK has an unusual approach and I think their approach violates human rights,” she said.What about the human right of men not to be falsely accused of a crime they didn’t commit and then see their accuser face lax justice simply because they have a different set of genitalia?
But Prof Claire Ferguson, a forensic criminologist from the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia, said it was not the norm to prosecute women for false allegations and that only those in the most egregious cases were charged, often where the accused man had spent time in custody.
“There have been cases in Australia where people have been accused, then nothing ever happens to the accuser, even though the police believe the report is indeed false. “This can be hugely problematic and has led to many personal and professional issues for the accused [including suicide], even when the police have proven that they did nothing wrong and are not a sex offender,” she said.Indeed so. We don’t have to look any further than ‘The Guardian’ itself for proof of this, do we?