Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rape and the police

The Independent this sunday ran a big feature on the continuing failure of police in the UK to get convictions in rape cases. The numbers are worse than ever and a chilling case study descibes how one woman was mistreated, not believed and discouraged from going to trial, then humiliated in the trial and the defendant, who had previous convictions, and in spite of eye witnesses and stacks of evidence, set free to rape again (which he did withing weeks of the trial).

And is it any surprise the rates of conviction are so low when the police are in fact commiting rape themselves. I refer of course to a certain Greg Jones. Senior Welsh police officer. Now here's the evidence: he went out drinking with a mate and they met two women and went back to one of their houses with them - as far as the victim was concerned, this was to "carry on partying". Now Greg wasn't planning to stay long at the mate's house because of course he needed to go home to his girlfriend. Before he left though he decided to have violent sex with one of the women. Now she says she didn't consent to it. Evidence in her favour include 24 significant bruises on her body. He says the bruises were caused by "several falls" during the sex.

Now I don't how everyone else does it but in my world having a fall of the kind that causes at least eight major bruises during sex is usually the point where you stop, or at least pause, no? If you do carry on afterwards you'd be concerned to avoid another fall, so you'd move to somewhere a little less precarious right? I don't even understand how three falls can give you 24 bruises. I think struggling to get away from a violent rapist might give you 24 bruises...

And the evidence for the defence - he bought condoms and she knew he had. So at some point earlier in the evening she though she might want to have sex later. I mean surely the message we should be sending out to women is - buy condoms in case you decide you want sex later, not if you buy condoms, that's consent!

And this guy has been acquitted and is back in the police forse. If you live in Wales and you get raped - he could be the one dealing with your case. And they wonder why women don't report and why reports don't lead to convictions, hmmm.


braganza said...

I think the problems lies in the fact that the vast majority of crimes fall through the net at the first stage with the police - either through institutional incompetence, or active discouragement victims most complainants simply don't press charges all the way to court.
One study I read put the figure as high as 80% of reported rapes failing at the 'police' stage, before CPS or trial.
It's not surprising, considering how deeply prejudice has manifested itself in the past within the police force. Surely this is where action needs to be targetted.
Our courts, aren't doing such a bad job in my opinion. As a percentage of cases which make it to trial, the conviction rate isn't bad.

Cruella said...

I agree, I think the police are the first group that should be targetted. Another thing that should be considered is specialist training for juries. It wouldn't have to take very long.

Interesting piece on the Guardian - linked to in later post on here - says that evidence suggests about 3% of rape claims are false, while the public believes that from 23 to more than 50 percent are likely to be false... compensation payments imposed for false reporting are typically much higher than those for rape itself.