Rape Crisis statement on anonymity for sexual abuse suspects

//Rape Crisis statement on anonymity for sexual abuse suspects

1 Jul 2019

Today, Monday 1st July 2019, on behalf of the national charity and umbrella body for specialist Rape Crisis Centres, Rape Crisis England & Wales, spokesperson Katie Russell said:

“It’s current best practice for suspects not to be named publicly until after they’ve been charged with an offence, unless the police judge there to be a specific investigative reason for doing so. This was reviewed by the Home Secretary in relation to sexual offences only a few years ago, and it was concluded that there were no grounds for treating suspects in these cases differently.

Rape Crisis agrees with the review’s conclusion that there are no grounds for changing the law specifically in relation to those suspected of sexual violence and abuse crimes.

Giving these suspects exceptional treatment compared to those suspected of similarly serious and stigmatising crimes would inevitably reinforce the public misconception – which is unsupported by evidence but nonetheless widely held – that those suspected of sexual offences are more likely to have been falsely accused than those suspected of other types of crime.

So-called false allegations of rape, sexual abuse and other sexual offences are rare, while experiences of sexual violence and abuse are far more common than most people appreciate.

But disproportionate media focus on so-called false allegations, and the subsequent widespread myth that they are common, contribute to an environment in which it’s very difficult for victims and survivors to talk about what’s happened to them and seek the support and justice they want, need and deserve.

Currently, Government statistics suggest just 17% of those who are raped or sexually abused ever report to the police. At Rape Crisis, victims and survivors tell us their reasons for not reporting include the fear of not being believed and/or of being treated like the suspects themselves.

When so very few sexual offenders are currently prosecuted and convicted, and when the impacts of sexual violence and abuse are so severe and long-lasting, our priority should surely be finding ways to improve the criminal justice system for victims and survivors.”

This statement follows the launch today of a parliamentary petition on this topic.

2019-07-01T14:33:39+00:00July 1st, 2019|News Article|
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