Precarious Rape Data – 16 to 25 year olds

There is a potential volatility in rapes figures among females aged 16 – 25  (in the UK)  that is undisclosed.

The general public, if it were asked, would probably respond that rape affects all women equally, regardless of age.

But would they be right in that assumption ?   No, they would not.

The public can be forgiven this misconception since it is the impression promoted by government departments over many years and it is a pattern very comparable with the style, tone and content of domestic violence (DV) initiatives.

With regards DV, the two official sacred cows are that only women are victims and, secondly, DV affects women of all ages regardless of income levels. While this is literally true it is very misleading. In reality domestic violence predominantly affects young single women and especially single women in the lower socio-economic category.  

The same sort of skew is true of rape victims.

The stereotypical ‘Woman’s Hour’ listener will be relieved to learn that she does not stand the same chance of being raped as a teenager or a ’20 something.’ Rape victims are not spread evenly through the age spectrum as Fig 2.1 (below) shows. The data in  Figure 2.1 is taken from a government publication, “Investigating and detecting recorded offences of rape” (Home Office, 2007) and shows the age of the complainant. [1]

The graphic below shows that 74% of rape victims were aged 16 or over and that 42% of rape victims were aged between 16 and 25. This would coincide with girls in the Ladette culture and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol (very often referred to as ‘binge drinking’). 

The margin of difference between the next two largest groups, i.e. 26 – 35 and 13 – 15, is 2 (18% v 16%). This leads one to suppose that, statistically, either the 16-25 range is over- represented and will likely include many false allegations, or, statistically there is a bona fide spike and more men rape more women in that age group.

Figures, which should be objective and dependable, have unfortunately been subject to fads and fashions. For instance, in the late 1990s the so-called “date rape” drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB burst into the public’s consciousness with one sensational drug induced rape after another revealed in all the media.

Originating in the US in the late 1990s it appeared in England early in 2000 when detectives in Cardiff began to investigate two separate cases of women in their 20s who had collapsed during nights out drinking. Perhaps because the instances occurred within a two week time frame the possibility was raised that the two women’s drinks had been ‘spiked’ with the so-called “date rape” drug, Rohypnol.

Reportedly, the two women, had ‘blacked out’ in different bars but maintained they had ‘not drunk a lot’ (?).[2]

Left: Young women now routinely drink until they become insensible.

‘Not a lot’ is a relative term and the women in these pictures would probably admit they might have had one or two drinks too many. But such is the nature of drinking among young women that would be as far as they would concede that their alcohol consumption had simply been too much. Of itself this new development of binge drinking would be unremarkable were it not for coincidence that those claiming to have been its victims were almost exclusively in the 16 to 25-year-old category. This is the age range where Ladette culture of binge drinking and drinking to you drop is at its most prevalent.

Left: A nation in the throes of losing it’s dignity; an all too common sight in English towns.

The sight of young women unable to stand due to “binge” alcohol consumption is now not confined to weekends and, it would seem, quite immaterial just where these young women pass out.

Last year, 29% of 15 and 16-year-old girls were binge-drinking.

Why this becomes pivotal is made clear in an earlier article (“Rape Allegations – what surveys say[3] (see footnote for URL). This highlighted the level of false and malicious allegations at 55% and where 25% of all ‘no crimed’, rapes were listed (in the 1999 study) as ‘malicious.’

A very recent  case (Nov 2010) of a false and malicious allegations was that of Kate Woodhead from Guildford in Surrey. Atypically, at 31, she was outside the usual 16 – 25-year-old range. She accused her former boyfriend of using diazepam to make her drowsy. Fortunately she was found out and because of other despicable acts, she was sent down for 3 years.

Left: Kate Woodhead (Surrey), found guilty.

Official narratives state that for many ‘reported rapes’ there is simply no evidence and, not infrequently, the victim had no idea of the circumstances that made her believe she had been raped.

What has not been emphasised enough in official reports is the narrow age range involved in these types of allegations (an aspect which will perhaps be explored in a later article).

In an Interim Report of a statistical review undertaken by the PAFAA [4] into false rape allegations which have been published in newspapers it was found that the majority of cases were allegedly fuelled by drink, spite or drugs. [5] The review covered approx. ten years from 1999 to 2010 and while it embraced all parts of the country it cannot be said to be ‘comprehensive’ or a random sample since it relied on published cases which, in themselves, were selected by News Editors who thought them worthy of publication.

PAFAA’s statistical survey focused on those cases where the false accuser was herself put on trial for ‘perverting the course of justice’. It therefore probably represents a minority of all cases since the authorities would more normally choose not to press charges against the false accuser. This might indicate that it is representative (a microcosm) of that particular segment or it may point to the very opposite, i.e. atypical.

Fig 3 shows the spread across a selected age range of those prosecuted for “perverting the course of justice” by laying false rape charges against an innocent person. No one in the survey was prosecuted for perjury.

What was also clear was the increase in the number of women prosecuted for making false allegations. Since 2008 to 2010, the numbers far exceed cases that could be found in, say, 1999 to 2001. This might be a product of the ever-expanding Internet compared with 10 years ago or, a shift in public perceptions reflected by the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service).

The PAFAA survey contained 220 entries; just over 200 represent rape of a female and most incidents were in the time span from 1999 to 2010. The majority of those put on trial were found guilty (over 90%), and the sentences ranged from probation to juvenile detention and from suspended sentences to custodial sentences. The number of those cases not put on trial for the offence of false allegations is unknown and are, by their nature, not included in the survey or totals.

No custodial sentence was more than 3 years long (just one instance), with the majority being around 10 months (+/-  two months)

The reasons excusing the making of a false allegation (in 95% of cases) can be confined to 6 motivating categories (not in rank order) – as pleaded by their legal team:

1). Drugs   2). Drink   3). Depression   4). Mental Health problems   5). Spite / Revenge   6). Profit – seeking monetary compensation (CICA).

In the majority of cases, several, or all of the above factors were put forward by the defence team in mitigation (circa 50% +), – yes, even admiting to attempting to profit. In all, there were 9 women described by police and prosecution as “fantasists.”

In literally only a handful of cases could it be said that “none of the 6“applied, e.g. homosexual cases and sexual assaults on children. Spite and seeking revenge were blatant in a significant minority of cases and one suspects that spite was the real driver behind other cases ostensibly blamed on drugs, drink and mental health issues.

Fig 3 (above),  illustrates the age spread of those women prosecuted for making false rape allegations (PAFAA study). The age range between 16 – 22 appear to be the most prosecuted, after that age group prosecutions quickly taper off.

 This is the age range, 16 – 22, which is most likely to be associated with the Ladette culture of binge drinking. it is also the age range where most of the reports of rape to police appear to emanate from (see Fig 2.1 above).

If we assume for the moment that the survey results are typical, we discover that false allegations are more likely to be made by younger than older women.

The PAFAA study found that the age of the false accusers ranged at one extreme from a 10-year-old to the other extreme of a 58-year-old, however the majority, as stated above, were in the age category of 16 – 25 (see Fig 3).

Netting down

The factors behind false or unfounded rape allegations, which account for 55% of all reported rapes must inevitably corrupt the integrity of rape statistics (see Home Office study by Grace & Harris). Rapes that are ‘no-crimed’, or where ‘no further action’ is taken (NFAs), account for approx. 55% of all reported rapes to the police in any given year. Therefore, false rape allegations are something of a continuing problem.

We might speculate that ‘false’ allegations may very well be made from spite and that ‘unfounded’ rape allegations are made because no exact memory of the relevant event is available to the alleged victim (or this could be used to mask the spite motive).

In 2004, 29% of 15 and 16-year-old girls in the UK were binge-drinkers compared to 26% of boys. Research published by the health charity DPP (Developing Patient Partnerships), in June 2006, found that 24% of Britons sometimes drink just to “get drunk” – a figure that rises to 59% for 18 – 24 year olds.

In Fig 4 (below), the original bar chart has been converted into a line chart (see Figure 2.1 above). If we extrapolate from the information just given (and in preceding text), the data can be more easily understood. The graph at Fig 4 is equivalent to the ‘percentages’ of the ‘Age of Complainant” just as before in Figure 2.1 but for the purposes of illustration it has been assumed in Fig 4 that false rape allegations (at 55%) are confined to the 16 – 25 age group, i.e. we ignore all other age groups where false rape allegations have been made and assume there are no false complaints in the other age categories. The result is to lower the number of complainants in the 16 – 25 age group quite significantly.

In Fig 4 (below) the original trend line is shown in black together with “Line 2” (pink) which the adjusted figure. “Line 2″ (in pink), represents the ‘adjusted’ number or the netting down of the gross/crude figure from ‘reported rapes’ after removing No-crimed and NFA cases (for ease of calculation the Age of Complainant has been reduced by 50% rather than 55%). 

It is accepted that the adjusted figure Line 2 (in pink) could be viewed as arbitrary, however, it endeavours to embrace the known levels of false allegations and reflect subsequent prosecutions for perverting the course of justice in the age range 16 – 25 which are shown in Fig 3. It therefore takes into account those allegations which will never reach court.

In the same process it may also give an indication of how many prosecutions for ‘perverting the course of justice’ (in the age range 16 – 25), could be possible if the political will were there.

Another aspect uncovered by the PAFAA study was that although, as stated in official literature, it is young women who are more at risk of rape, it is also true that older men are unusually vulnerable to false accusations by young women.

One can expect young women to falsely accuse young men of rape but the findings show that a not insignificant number of allegations were against older men – and older men they had not met – is worrying. If we were forced to guess at this stage what the final break down might be it would be that approx. 30% of false allegations made by young women are against older men – who are often around twice their accuser’s age.

The choice of age ranges that tend to be used in official circles to demonstrate a particular aspect of rape invariably skews the data.  Fig 2.1 and Fig 4 have ten yearly intervals for the post teenage years but the years covering 10 to 15 are separated out into 2 groups. Arguably, this does not allow one to compare like with like.

In Fig 5 (above) an attempt to partially remedy this shortcoming has been made.  Again, the same removal of false allegations is confined to the 16 – 25 age group as in Fig 4.  The “less than 12” and the “13 -15” categories have been amalgamated into a 5 year span (10 – 15) . This ‘adjustment’ then reveals a falling trend through the various age groups for the number of rape complaints made to police (Fig 5). This adjustment also reveals a far higher percentage of rape claims emanate from under-16-year-olds than 16 – 25 year olds.

Fig 6. (far left and left)

The Met Police graph of ‘reported rapes’ (from 1900 to 2002) depicted in “How the panic over rape was orchestrated” Sept 2009  (Fig 6 far left), so shocked the public with its logistic curve that everyone failed to ask pertinent question. One of which was; “Show us the age composition of those who have reported a rape.” Does such an analysis exist and what would it show us ? Or is it another instance of British statistics being woefully inadequate ?   (see ? NB. The left hand graph at Fig 6 (above), is the original displayed by the Met Police.

It would appear that more rape claims are made by schoolgirls and minors than any other age group – including the 16 – 25 year olds – and when combined with the 16 – 25 year olds constitute around 75% of all rape claims.

Plotted on a graph the rape of schoolgirls and minors would closely resemble the right hand graph at Fig 6 (pink line, Series 2) which shows how a 50% ‘correction’ to the rape statistics.

 However improbable it may sound initially, i.e. that schoolgirls lodge more rape claims than any other ‘age-specific’ segment. 

Fig 6A

When we look for confirmation of this we find it in a Table 2.1 (not to be confused with Figure 2.1) published in “Investigating and detecting recorded offences of rape”.   ( In abbreviated form this is shown in Fig 6A (above).

 “School pupils”, which will predominantly be girls, lodge 26% of ‘all rape claims’ overshadowed only by the ‘unemployed’, which can be of any age (and probably be composed, in the main, by the lower socio-economic orders). Table 2.1 ranks victims by occupation with most, e.g.  sales staff, clerks, managers, housewives, retired persons etc, being recorded at 3% to 5%” (even prostitutes are listed as composing only 3% of rape victims).

The big two in the ‘over 16 year old’ category are students and the unemployed. Would it be unfair to say that these two groups consume large quantities of alcohol ? Would it be fair to speculate that an increase in alcohol prices might indirectly lower claims of being raped ?


That realisation, i.e. of schoolgirls and those barely over 16,  also causes a penny to drop in one’s mind; why are rapes communicated en bloc (aggregated),  leaving the public with the impression that rape events are evenly spread across all the age ranges (say 15% per 10 year age category) ?  And why, if this is such a serious topic, is this preferrable to giving age analysis warning in public announcements ?

If paedophilia is defined as an adult who lusts after, or who finds themselves sexually attracted to, pre-pubescent children (usually taken to mean sexually immature and biologically unable to reproduce) then where do 10 and 11-year-old girls fit in to the picture when they claim to have been raped ? Are paedophiles being counted in with rapists ?

Very few rapes of under 16 year olds (less than 5%) occurred in the victim’s home – compared with 30% for girls aged over 16. Girls under 16 year olds were more likely to be raped at ‘a home they shared with someone’ (29%), or at the ‘suspect’s home’ (32%). A quite different picture emerges for girls aged over 16 year olds. A lack of judgement seems to be a factor between these two age groups.

Such a line of thinking – the youthfulness of claimants – would  have the effect of creating a further trend line bisecting the area between the horizontal axis line and the pink line – as seen in Fig 6, Series 2. Numerically, this would bring down the claimed number of rapes from approx. 10,000 in 2001 to 5,000 (after no-crimed etc), and then down again to 2,500 actual provable rapes of women not under the age of 25 that could be taken to court.

The number of rape cases that came to trial in 1997 was 1,209;  in 2003 it was 1,063. However, the Ministry of Justice in their recent review of Rape Anonymity listed a different set of numbers for cases that came to trial. A footnote explained that this was due to “data extraction” and changes in the basis used, for example, the number “Proceeded against” in 2004 was 2,453. This might, simply by coincidence, be the number alluded to above of rape cases (2,500) where sufficient evidence existed to bring a case.

The left hand graph at Fig 6 (above), is the original Met Police graph, made up of reported rapes. The pink line, ‘Series 2’,  which is the graph to the right at Fig 6 represents reported rapes from women aged under 26 years old, ie about half. Coincidentally, the pink ‘Series 2’, line also serves to illustrate at 50% who many netted down cases there are after no-criming and NFA have been deducted.

Fig 6B shows what happens when a reduction of approx. 50% is made to all rape reports (see yellow Line 3). We saw in Fig 4 and Fig 5 how the percentage of rapes complainants fell from nearly 45 of the total to 23 when unfounded rapes were deducted. Fig 5A now shows that effect across all age groups.

It is important to remember that these are only percentages graphs which are used here to illustrate what would likely happen if the graphs represented discrete numbers.

In reality the actual number would fall because false claims, i.e. No-crimed and NFAs, would have been deleted, however, the remaining total would still show 45% of claims emanated from the  16 to  25 year-old age group and 25% emanating from the 10 – 15 age group etc.

Once again we have to turn to American statistics to verify our supposition. Alleged rapes, it would appear, are not evenly distributed as one might suppose across the age ranges. The Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (mincava) stated in a publication, crica 1995, that in the USA: 

  • About 80% of rape victims were under age 30 – about half of these were under age 18.
  • 29% of rape victims were aged between 12 and 17.
  • Victims younger than 12 accounted for 15% of those raped.

England & Wales has not managed 80% for under 30 years olds but it is close to the 29% for rape victim claimant aged under 17.

To flesh out those broad categories the US Bureau of Justice Statistics in a July 1997 publication (NCJ-162031 stated that 50% of those claiming to have suffered a rape or sexual assault are aged under 25 ( 

Such a level would be comparable with English data shown in Fig 5 (70% using the black line and 48% using the pink line).

Elsewhere in the BJS Report is confirmation of the ‘age demarcation’ when the median age of victim for other serious offences are compared (see Fig 7).

Overall, the 1997 BJS Report concludes that:-

“More than 52% of all rape/sexual assault victims were females younger than 25.”

Where US and British rape statistics might vary is in quantifying the number of rapes allocated to girls under 16, particularly the 10 to 13-year-old age range. It is difficult to imagine that 30% of rapes and sexual assault are perpetrated against girls aged between 13 and 17. Or is that age bracket chosen to underscore the high numbers where probably the greater majority can be attributed to the 16 and 17 year olds in that age range ? Clarity of the order seen in American statistics might be very helpful in British statistics in this matter.

Fig 8, left, would appear to undercut that belief. It shows rapes among American 12 – 15-year-old girls as not far short of the numbers found among 16 – 19 year olds.

Simply by looking at Fig 8, above, it is clear that 3 times as many women under the age of 25 claim to have been raped than over the age of 25 (approx. 335 per 1,000 v 108 per 1,000).

In absolute numbers and in percentage terms the US seems far ahead, i.e. worse, regarding sex offending against minors than Britain. Official US data, as Fig 8 shows, puts sex offending in the 12 – 15 year age range as very comparable with the 16 – 19 category, an age range one would normally expect to be more ‘sexually active’.

That said, one then has to take into consideration the message contained in Fig 4 and Fig 5 and ask whether sex offending really is confined to those aged around 16 or is it wishful thinking and is this what we should expect from a ‘liberated’ society ?


[3] “Rape Allegations – what surveys say”

[4] PAFAA – People Against False  Allegations

[5] Sample of 200 false rape allegation cases dating from 1999 to 2010 and where the false accuser was put on trial and convicted for ‘perverting the course of justice.’  Omitted from this sample are those cases where a) no changes were brought, b). charged brought but  not put on trial, c). no publicity attended the  case, d) charges were dropped and e). case dismissed or discontinued.


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