Snuffed out – advances in rape detection

‘Truth test’ to uncover false rape allegations

As number of sex crimes rises but conviction rate falls, ‘lie detector’ could help police weed out bogus claims

By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent, the Independent, Tues. 31st October 2000

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/truth-test-to-uncover-false-rape-allegations-634512.html

I am grateful to a PAFAA / SOFAP * member for bringing this 12 year old article to my attention. Since 1999 I have tried to convince the Home Office both in committee and in position papers of the virtues that lie detectors are able to offer if used wisely. This article which I was not aware of validates everything I have proposed over those years. Examination of this blog site which deals  mainly with rape claims (and two others) will confirm the situation.[1]

The horrible truth is that this promising line of enquiry has been killed off and the old unenlightened orthodoxy remains pre-eminent. Twelve years  on and no action has been taken (2000 – 2012).  The only bright spots in that period are that the public are no longer quite so gullible and rape conviction rates have been proven to be ‘attrition rates’ and nothing to do with true conviction rates.

* PAFAA People Against False Accusations of Abuse. * SOFAP Support Organisation for Falsely Accused People

A “lie-detector” test to help uncover false allegations of rape is being developed by the police and criminologists. Between 10% and 41% of allegations of rape are made up by the “victim”, according to previous research. In the new test, a claimant’s statement is analysed and points are given from a list of set clues – people who have made up a rape allegation get a low score, while genuine complaints get a high score.

Using this technique in two studies, police officers and researchers had a success rate of between 72% and 100% in identifying genuine rape victims from liars. All the cases were real-life examples selected because of the existence of strong evidence, such as closed-circuit television footage, to prove the defendants’ guilt or innocence.

The two pieces of research indicate that police officers who rely on their detective skills and intuition when examining a statement by an alleged rape victim are no better than a member of the public at identifying a genuine complainant from a false one.

The researchers found that the three main motivations for reporting false rape are to provide an alibi where the accuser believes she may be pregnant or has had illicit consensual sex, revenge against a partner, and a desperate attempt to seek sympathy or attention.

  • [Note see Charles P. McDowell, Ph.D. USAF research into reasons for rape claims from the 1980s. RAPE ALLEGATION CHECKLIST, the US Pentagon].

The National Crime Faculty, which develops new investigative techniques, is studying the rape testing system, known as statement validity analysis (SVA). This form of analysis is already used by a handful of officers in Britain. Criminologists hope it will help detect malicious complaints – which can ruin the reputations of the people falsely accused – to allow police to concentrate more on genuine cases.

The small number of false allegations that make it to court have harmed the campaign by women’s groups, the Home Office and police to increase the conviction rate for rape, which fell from 24% in 1985 to 9% in 1997.

  • [ Note, this is an unreconstructed Home Office of 12 years ago and the 9% refers not to Conviction but Attrition rates. See Stern Report for validation of this position – RW]

In the year ending March 2000, the number of rapes recorded by police in England and Wales increased by 9.5% to 7,809 offences involving a female victim, and by 19% in male rapes to 600.

The two studies adapted SVA, which was first developed to test allegations of child abuse, to help assess rape cases. Points were given for different aspects of the complainant’s statement including how it was structured, what details were included and excluded and the type of language and description used. The researchers say that genuine rape victims include unexpected details and structure their statements in a different way from false claimants.

In one of the studies, Andrew Parker, a Metropolitan Police officer who works at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and Jennifer Brown, professor in the psychology department at the University of Surrey, tested 43 statements of alleged rape victims from London, 38 of which were made by women.

The testing system successfully predicted all the eventual outcomes of their cases – 24 were believed to be “credible”, 16 “non-credible”, with three undecided.

Of the non-credible cases, the police later found thatsix involved serial allegers suffering from psychiatric disturbances, four involved complainants who admitted making malicious allegations, and two were made by delusional alcoholics.
Their report, “Detection of Deception”, published in the Legal and Criminological Psychology journal, concluded:

  • “SVA is not intended to replace the detective, but it can be used as a significant aid in the assessment of complex and emotional victim and witness testimony.”

In the second study, Detective Sergeant Chris Few, working at the Centre for Applied Psychology at Leicester University, tested the system on 32 police officers. He trained half in the new analysis technique, which uses a check list of 15 criteria or clues when studying a statement. They examined four statements, of which four were genuine and four were false. The officers using the system correctly predicted the validity of the statements in 72% of the cases, while those using their own judgement were accurate in just over half.

Detective Sergeant Chris Few added:

  • “Virtually all the training police officers are given to assess whether someone is telling the truth, focuses on verbal and non-verbal behaviour such as body language. Most research suggests this does not work.
    “Police officers are no better than anyone else at telling whether someone is lying or not about a rape allegation. Most have about the same chances of success as tossing a coin.”
  • “The tests need refining further but they should be able to help investigators better assess the credibility of witnesses in serious sexual offences.”

[1] References :

“Getting Stern on rape”, by Nigel Hawkes, Director of Straight Statistics. http://www.straightstatistics.org/blog/2009/12/16/getting-stern-rape

“How the panic over rape was orchestrated”, by Robert Whiston  FRSA http://robertwhiston.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/15/  

“Sweden’s Rape Data – Part 1”, by Robert Whiston  FRSA http://motoristoppression.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/2/

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Waving the white flag ?

Has Whitehall finally admitted defeat ?

Something with the long-winded title of “Consultation on improvements to Ministry of Justice statistics” was published in Feb 2011.

It is an acceptance, albeit in a roundabout way, of the criticisms  I and others have levelled at the way the Home Office has hitherto compiled criminal statistics – especially for rape.

Conviction rates for rape have always been devised in a way that would be unacceptable for any other crime. This anomaly is thankfully, at last, acknowledged and is to be killed off.

The publication written by Jil Matheson, the National Statistician also acknowledges on page 22, that false allegations of rape are a fraught subject area in need of greater examination and she recommends:

  • “ . . . .   that the Ministry of Justice commissions and publishes an independent research report to study the frequency of false allegations of rape compared with other offences and the nature of such allegations.”

Just how independent and how unfettered that groundbreaking  ‘research’ will prove to be is open to question. The Ministry of Justice had no information on false allegations in 2010 other than those I provided for the Nov 2010 review. No mention of its existence appears in this Feb 2011 paper.

The report comes in several smaller summaries and this one http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/consultations/moj-stats_consultation-a.pdf is a good place to start (the full list can be found at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/565.htm ).

The second really interesting part begins at page 26, Para 2.3 “End-to-end measurement and downgrading.” Here the thinking of the Min of Justice is revealed and their proposed amendments laid out.

The following, although abridged, is taken directly from the “Consultation on improvements to Ministry of Justice statistics” (pages 26 – 28):

  • Conviction  rates

The Stern Review recommended that the Min of Justice should work with the National Statistician to explore fully the issue of conviction rates in rape cases. As rape cases cannot be considered in isolation we have considered this issue alongside the review of Barriers to Trust in Crime Statistics.

During the Min of Justice’s investigations they have found at least four different definitions of a rape conviction rate being used which are as follows:

  •  A.  Convictions for rape and recorded crime

One method, used commonly in discussions of the Criminal Justice System response to rape, shows the number of people convicted of rape as a proportion of all rapes recorded. This is often incorrectly referred to as a conviction rate.

Thus while useful, this method is misleading in terms of presenting evidence on convictions for rape.

The Min of Justice will continue to make available the necessary data to allow users to construct this measure if they wish, but advises thatresults are referred to as a conviction to crime ratio.

  • B.  Convictions for rape and people prosecuted

Official convictions for all offence types produced by the Min of Justice are, strictly speaking, also not rates but ratios.

They are ratios of convictions for a principal offence (e.g. rape) over one year to prosecutions for that same offence. This is because offenders convicted in a reporting year are not always the same people who were prosecuted in that year as investigations and trials span more than one reporting year.

Common terminology refers to the ratio as a rate but the Min of Justice’s has from today begun referring to these correctly as conviction ratios.

[ NB statistical rates are often found expressed as per 1,000 persons or per 100,000 of either offences or persons. This allows for direct and accurate compositions to other countries with very different population sizes – RW ]

  • C.  Convictions for any offence and people prosecuted

An alternative method to the standard used by the Min of Justice presents the number of defendants convicted of any offence as a proportion of those prosecuted for rape.

The Stern Review published in 2010 drew attention to this more inclusive method of presenting conviction data which is important because it reflects instances of downgrading. For example, if someone is prosecuted for rape but convicted of a lesser offence, this conviction would be included.

  • D.  Convictions for rape and charges heard by jury

Finally, Cheryl Thomas’s paper (2010) presented a different method of calculating conviction rates [1] (see also Appendix A).

This considers the number of convictions against charges of rape heard by a jury following a ‘not guilty’ plea, rather than the number of people prosecuted.

In considering charges and not people prosecuted, this measure differs from the Min of Justice method, as illustrated by the example below:

  • Ten people are prosecuted for a total of 30 charges of rape. Juries pass a guilty verdict against 18 of these charges.
  • This translates into a 60% jury conviction rate based on charges heard but, if only four of the ten people prosecuted were found guilty of rape, Min of Justice statistics, which are based on people prosecuted, would report a conviction rate of 40%.

Cynics might say that in looking at 70,000  trials of offences committed by black and minority ethnic men but tried by “all white” juries an in-built bias was being sought perhaps for political considerations or to undermine the process for future changes.  Prof Cheryl Thomas’s survey included 4,000 jury rape trials. The reader has to be cautioned against the media and academia who these days are casual about using the word ‘rape’ which can mean a variety of offences from rape to less serious sexual offences.

[ Observation – Neither the Home Office in the past nor – it would appear from the above – the Min of Justice of today, have got their heads around and addressed the issue of “serial” offenders and multiple offenders (as opposed to the re-offending criminal or career criminal). On page 26 can be found references to those convictions involving multiple defendants and multiple offences but not a singular defendant facing multiple and identical charges.]

  • Moving forward in presenting conviction data  

It is the Min of Justice‘s view that both the conviction to crime ratio and also the conviction rate used by Cheryl Thomas have added to the knowledge and understanding of the particular circumstances of rape. However, they have not been replicated across all crime types and do not lend themselves easily to this wider approach.

The Min of Justice statisticians believe it is essential that all measures we publish should be published consistently for all offences. It is possible to publish the other two conviction rates for all offences:

  • The number of people prosecuted for Offence A that are convicted of Offence A and what percentage of all prosecutions for Offence A this comprises: the ‘within offence’ conviction rate;
  • The number of people prosecuted for Offence A that are convicted of any criminal offence and what percentage of all prosecutions for Offence A, this comprises: the ‘all offence’ conviction rate.

Neither measure on its own provides a complete picture of conviction rates as the first measure can under-estimate conviction rates while the second can overstate them.

We also find in these pages the dilemma faced by the CPS and police, i.e. rather than supporting a case for prosecution against the original charge, the evidence better warrants prosecution for a less serious offence, e.g. a reported crime of rape may receive a charge of serious sexual assault as the evidence was insufficient to prosecute for rape. This process is known as ‘downgrading’.

The final part of this section asks:

  • Q4. Do you agree that conviction rates should be measured using two measures: a ‘within offence’ conviction rate which shows the proportion of people prosecuted for an offence who are found guilty of that offence; and an ‘all offence’ conviction rate which shows the proportion of people prosecuted for an offence and found guilty of any offence ?
  • Q5. Do you agree that until the data linking necessary for full conviction rates to be published is completed, that we continue to publish the conviction ratio ?

Appendix A

 

CHERYL THOMAS

Professor of Judicial Studies
Director, UCL Jury Project
Co-Director, UCL Judicial Institute

The recently published follow-up study, Are Juries Fair? (2010), tackles sensitive and controversial issues about the fairness of jury decision-making for the first time in this country. It examines whether all-White juries discriminate against Black and minority ethnic defendants, whether juries rarely convict on certain offences or at certain courts, whether jurors understand legal directions, are aware of media coverage of their cases or look for information on the internet about their cases during trial. The empirical study involved over 1000 serving jurors in three areas of the country and over 68,000 jury verdicts across all Crown Courts in England and Wales {“As well as an academic, she is also a documentary filmmaker and has produced programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery and PBS” –  and worked for French government – how do you get that well-connected ?}.

This extract may help put her work into context:-

All-white juries do not discriminate

By Paul Sullivan, from insidetime issue March 2010

http://www.insidetime.org/articleview.asp?a=681&c=allwhite_juries_do_not_discriminate

Juries overall appear ‘efficient and effective’ and convict on almost two thirds of all charges presented to them, according to a ground-breaking study by the Ministry of Justice into the secrets of the jury room. Paul Sullivan reports The study, in which 70,000 trials were analysed, conducted by Professor Cheryl Thomas of University College London, found that contrary to popular belief and previous government reports, juries actually convict more often than they acquit in rape cases. A previous Home Office study claiming that jury acquittals were more common than convictions was based on only 181 verdicts in a few courts. The current study was based on more than 4,000 jury rape verdicts between 2006 and 2008.

– – snip – –


[1]  Cheryl Thomas, “Are Juries Fair ?” London,  Ministry of Justice (2010).

Female Paedophiles

Robert Whiston Sept 2010

Claims made in this Australian article focusing on events in New Zealand may be difficult to accept at first featuring as it does the astonishing assertion that  ”48% of child abusers in 2006 were women.’ 

However, it comes with the caveat “where the perpetrator’s gender was known” which may reduce the overall impact of the figure. We have to be open to views that run contrary to mainstream thinking if we are to arrive at an educated and defensible position regarding important matters like this. 

The article is reproduced here only for discussion. We all know from our own family experience  that mothers play with children  and grandchildren very differently than fathers. In our presently unhealthy society, which likes to smear all things, it is this natural playing that might be being interpreted as sexual offending. One only has to recall what academics and government ministries have done to the meaning of ‘domestic violence’ and ‘rape’ to realise that definitions are, in some areas of our lives, totally out of control.

She-wolves in sheeps’ clothing

By Elizabeth Willmott Harrop

2nd  Sept 2010
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10911&page=0

Female child abusers are the 21st century equivalent of lesbians in the Victorian age: not legislated against because they do not exist. The nature of woman being incapable of “deviancy”, as the bigoted Victorians said.

Hence in New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) was unable to accept claims from boys sexually abused by women, until the law changed in 2005. Prior to that the perpetrator of “sexual indecency” had to be male. [1]

However, statistics indicate that female child abusers not only exist, but in numbers approaching those of males. In New Zealand, 48% of child abusers for 2006, where the perpetrator gender was known, were women.
In the USA, in 2002, 63% of all child abuse, from neglect to sexual abuse, was perpetrated by the mother. In 40% of cases the mother acted alone.

 

Lucy Faithfull Foundation

The UK’s Lucy Faithfull Foundation (est’d 1993)  is a child protection charity and estimates women are responsible for 10% of all child sexual abuse and that 5% – 20% of pedophiles are women. Meanwhile in New Zealand, 40% of the 1,200 men helped by the Christchurch-based Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust (MSSAT) in 2010, were sexually abused by women when they were boys.

Ken Clearwater, founder of MSSAT comments: “

  • We live in a culture in which men aren’t allowed to be victims and women aren’t allowed to be anything other than nurturing. So abuse suffered as a boy at the hands of an adult female can be the hardest abuse of all to come to terms with, let alone to speak out about.”

Numerous studies show very young children are at increased risk of abuse. According to the New Zealand Families Commission, in 2006, children under five-years-old made up 49% of all children aged 0-16 years found to have been neglected, 48% of those emotionally abused, and 23% of those physically abused. Infants aged under one-year account for two-thirds (66%) of childhood deaths each year and three-quarters (75%) of all child deaths in New Zealand 2002-2006 were of children under five.

As the primary caregivers of young children, the New Zealand Ministry of Justice observes that;

  • “Mothers do most of the constant and demanding care of pre-schoolers, so it should be no surprise that much of the reported physical and emotional abuse of pre-schoolers is done by mothers”.

[ NB.This  is an old excuse for child abuse and is based on the ‘proximity theory’, ie the mother is in more proximity to the child than the father. However, this theory of abuse doesn’t work when applied to ‘father care’ and ‘house husbands’ on a per capita basis – RW]

Culture of Silence

However, as a taboo subject, both female perpetrators and their victims are unlikely to speak out, with women unwilling to ask for help in a society which brands them as evil aberrations.

A 2005 study by the New Zealand Department of Corrections says that violent and sexual offending by women;

  •  “. . . has been avoided or neglected because it challenges fundamental beliefs about women as nurturers, protectors and as victims of violence”.

Former New Zealand MP, Marc Alexander, a campaigner for victim’s rights and a published author on the criminal justice system, has been criticised when speaking out about female abusers:

  • “Often when I’ve talked about this issue in the past I get accused of women-bashing or deflecting from the vast majority of child abuse cases which are perpetrated by men.”

However, Clearwater notes that there has been a significant shift since MSSAT started in 1995. Clearwater comments:

  • “Abuse at the hands of a woman is not the dirty little secret it used to be. I can now sit in a room of women working for Rape Crisis and talk about male victims. I’ve also noticed that the language has changed. Perpetrators as well as victims are now referred to as he\she in new editions of books about sexual abuse, whereas before there was always the assumption the perpetrator was male and the victim female.”

Part of the reason politicians and society at large may be unwilling to address the issue of female abusers, is their own culpability in the problem. Women who abuse their children are ordinary women for whom factors such as their own history as a victim of abuse, lack of social support networks, poverty and poor educational opportunities have collided to create a parent unable to live up to society’s ideals of the all-nurturing, self sacrificing mother.

The late pediatrician Dr Robin Fancourt commented that“The stresses of unemployment, a lack of income, the void of isolation and a lack of social support can push any adult to abuse or neglect.” Fancourt saw child neglect as perpetrated by society as well as by individuals, when she said of the increasing number of New Zealand children who are bought up in poverty “these children are neglected through the many other disadvantages that are imposed on this sector of society as a whole”.

The 2010 report Learning from Tragedy concurs, commenting that, “Prevention of child maltreatment for the youngest children at risk will involve addressing layers of disadvantage”.

Loving Abusers

Female perpetrated abuse is often conducted in the context of an affectionate and loving relationship which children dare not risk losing. Studies into childhood sexual abuse have shown that young children have difficulty recognising the inappropriateness of a request when it is made by a “good” person, and research has shown that children can often feel loved, wanted and cared for by the parents who are abusing them.

This makes it almost impossible for the child to assimilate what is happening to them. As Alexander observes:

  • “Improper sexual behavior by women is grossly under-reported, partly because children are scared of saying anything against the main nurturer in the home but also because it can so easily be hidden in caring activities such as bathing, dressing or consoling the victim.”

The conflict between loving and abusive, appropriate and inappropriate is reflected in a 2005 study about maternal experiences of childhood of Pacific Island mothers in New Zealand which concluded that“abusive and supportive behaviours co-exist; physical abuse being recalled more strongly than emotional abuse, and mothers seeming both more abusive and more supportive than fathers”.

Women who have intimate relationships with teenage boys often claim they were in a loving partnership. The media glamorises its reporting with headlines such as “Blonde,attractive, successful and having sex with teens”, further fueling a culture in which female perpetrated abuse is not taken seriously.

The fact remains that consensual exchanges, be they emotional or sexual, between a child or young person and an adult are always abusive because the perpetrator has a power imbalance with their victim.

Particularly challenging are subtle but pervasive forms of emotional abuse within an otherwise loving relationship, such as using children as confidants, or as Fancourt says, where behaviour conveys to the child that they are “only acceptable in the context of meeting another’s needs”.

The child remains trapped in a netherworld, potentially only recognising abuse decades later. Fancourt, in her report on neglect and psychological abuse in childhood, makes the point well when she speaks of “the rare ability of children to conceptualise, comprehend, or verbalise what is happening due both to their developmental barriers and as a result of these forms of maltreatment being the expected background of family life”.

Victim as Abuser

There is a hated debate about gender parity in family violence. Many studies argue that male and female intimate partner violence is similar in frequency and severity. This is countered by researchers who believe for example that women’s violence is exaggerated by bias and selective remembering.

Yet one American study of women’s refuge clients showed that 90% of the women displayed aggressive behaviour toward their children. New Zealand government agency Child Youth and Family (CYF) also reports that about half of women who are physically abused by their partners also abuse their children, illustrating a key point which is that you can be a victim of violence and also a perpetrator of abuse.

Ruptured attachment between mother and baby, one cause of which is Postpartum Depression (PPD), is implicated in child abuse. A 2010 study on Pacific Islands families showed that being the victim of physical violence more than doubles the risk of PPD.

These points emphasise the importance of seeing male and female perpetrators and male and female victims, as a holistic problem. Furthermore, female abusers often abuse with a male partner, again making the two genders inseparable.

Child Homicide

Women commit a small proportion of family homicides, yet the statistics increase dramatically for child homicides. Learning from Tragedy, which looked at family homicides in New Zealand for the period 2002-2006, found that women were responsible for 7% of homicides of “other family members”, 11% of couple related homicides, but 40% of child homicides.

Child homicides, and therefore female perpetrators, may be greatly under-reported due to the way deaths are classified. One study noting for example that given what is known from other countries about deaths resulting from child neglect, the total number of child maltreatment deaths in New Zealand may be much greater, saying;

  •  “The malnourished baby suffering from failure to thrive who develops pneumonia and dies from lack of medical attention does not appear in homicide statistics”.

The report says infanticide “is the most susceptible to misclassification as a death by some other cause”. It is estimated that 5% to 10% of children recorded as having died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may have been misdiagnosed incidents of neglect or abuse. This is especially significant in light of the high prevalence of neglect by females, and New Zealand’s historically high SIDS rate.

[NB This can be linked to the sudden drop off in SIDS deaths seen esp. in England in the last 20 years – RW ]

Research shows that children of young mothers are particularly vulnerable. CYF notes that“Compared to mothers aged over 25 years, mothers were 11 times more likely to kill their children if aged under 17 years.”

Single mothers are also vulnerable to perpetrating child abuse. In the USA in 2002, single mothers were the highest category of offender in child abuse cases.

Young and single mothers share risk factors with child abuse perpetration, such as economic hardship and being a victim of abuse. For example, a 1998 New Zealand Ministry of Health report notes that women who report being sexually abused as a child “are more likely than non-abused women to become pregnant before age 19”.

For young mothers, 60% of whom according to Australian research do not have a male partner when their baby is born, these factors are compounded by a body which is capable of bearing children without the parallel mental and emotional maturity.

Anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hardy comments:

  • “Settled living and plentiful food have removed constraints on fertility that for tens of millions of years protected anthropoid primates from giving birth at such young ages … Being fat enough to ovulate is no longer tied to having a supportive social network who will help rear her child.”

The fact is that poverty, lack of educational opportunities, a history of childhood abuse, family violence and young and single motherhood are some of the many risk factors which indicate a woman may abuse a child.

If we are serious about preventing child abuse, we need to be more open about female perpetrators, so that victims and the women who abuse them can be supported and acknowledged. And we need to take collective responsibility for the social conditions which provide fertile ground for this hidden tragedy.

END

Footnotes: 

[1] The ‘Accident Compensation Corporation’ is New Zealand’s equivalent to the UK’s Criminal Compensation Board.

Oh, how the mighty are fallen !

 ‘Rape – paying the price’

 by Robert Whiston FRSA   May 25th 2011

Dominique Straus–Kahn (often referred to as simply DSK), is paying the price set by his erstwhile friends and colleagues in government circles. They alone planned and allowed to be set up the regime under which he is now suffering.

DSK is finding out the hard way what his political equals have been up to for the past 30 years. Busily they have created an ogre of a regime that they never envisaged would ever ensnare one of their number.

Helplessly they look on, watching his slow political destruction, his diminishing in public esteem and the wrecking of his career. The once powerful oligarchy finds itself impotent to act.

May 2011 will go down as not a good month for politicians and rape – first we had DSK on may 14th, and then Ken Clarke on May 18th. Perhaps this time around it will serve as a wake up call ?

The 62-year-old DSK faces seven charges against a chamber maid including ‘attempted rape’, ‘sex abuse’, ‘a criminal sex act’, ‘unlawful imprisonment’ and ‘forcible touching’ (a person of the opposite sex, presumably). The most serious charge, ‘attempted rape’, carries a 25-year sentence – longer than for a murder !

Apparently, according to the criminal complaint sworn against him, this French political grandee and international oligarch:

  • ” . . .. intentionally and for no legitimate purpose forcibly touched the sexual and other intimate parts of an individual known to the grand jury, for the purpose of degrading and abusing said individual and for the purpose of gratifying the defendant’s sexual desire”,

The regime deprives a man of his normal civil rights simply in order to save the blushes of a victim who alleges a wrong doing.

This Medusa, this multi-headed ogre was supposed to give women some degree of equality in court that alleged they lacked before the 1980s and better their position. But become even slightly smeared by an allegation and without a Perseus to save the day, any unfortunate will find themselves paralysed as if they have been turned to stone by Medusa.

But were rape shield laws ever designed to do soat the cost of removing basic human rights from the person accused ?

How could they have imagined thatthe law would be unleashed not on some low level Joe Public to keep the natives in their place but on a millionaire oligarchy ?

What evil genius could have devised such a vehicle to so seamlessly replace the medieval rack and burning coals to secure the same level of discomfiture and permanent scarring but without ever leaving a mark ?

Why did both sense and sensibility leave the court building ? Whatever happened to the American sense proportion ? A six million dollars bail for a face that is by now known to half the world and even among the unemployed ?

Is this a clash of cultures or of semantics ? Are the French more relaxed about sex and dalliances while the protestant Anglo-Saxons are far more ‘up tight’ about it. Or is it America converting and corrupting the language so that stroking a woman’s bum in s now prima facie rape ?

The bail conditions could hardly have been more punitive had he been the architect of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

In the depths of World War II, when it was going badly for Britain (and had been for a quite a time), ‘Bomber’ Harris justified the ‘carpet bombing’ of German cities by saying of the Luftwaffe bombing; “They have sown the wind – now they will reap the whirlwind.

I am not at all sure that the radical feminists, who have cajoled government in to passing blatantly undemocratic and slanted laws, have fully realised yet the vulnerable position they have put themselves in.

They have continually painted men into a corner and I fear that when more men realise they have been boxed in, realise the conspiracy, and realise how it has been done and by whom, the backlash will know few boundaries and may well last many generations.

END

Addendum – The case agsint DSK has now collapsed (2nd July 2011). Apprarentlty, it was all based on a pack of lies created by a chamber maid cum call girl and  inspired solely for monetray gain. She knew precisly who DSK was and how wealthy he was (see for example http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010137/Dominique-Strauss-Kahn-FREE-Ex-IMF-boss-released-bail-rape-maid-lied.html). As the collapse gained momentum it became clear  from photos that this virtuous and modest Muslim girl was a Muslim maid who liked to ‘party’, associated with known drug dealers and was seen drinking alcohol.

Sweden’s Rape Data – Part 1

By Robert Whiston FRSA  Dec 30th 2009

If a picture is worth a thousands words then let it be hoped that these tables and graphs will speak volumes.

These tables and graphs are taken from Swedish police records and relate to ‘reported rapes’ and by age of perpetrator committed during the 1990s. The reason for this is that in the near future another article will display tables of the current rape levels in Nordic countries and the reasons behind the increase.

Tables 523 and 524 are taken from official Swedish records. Tables 523 relates to Offences Reported to the Police which have here been truncated to show only sexual offences and rapes

From the mid 1990s to 2000 Swedish Statistics seems to prefer not to record or not publish data on sexual offences as such (Tables 523) but is happy to publish material specific to one aspect, i.e. rape.

Table 523. Offences reported to the police
Offence 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Sexual  offences  No data No data No data No data No data
Rape 1,608 1,692 1,965 2,104 2,024
Source:  Swedish Statistics http://www.scb.se/statistik/AA/OV0904/2000I02/A01S%C3%850201_24.pdf

 

However, if we look at Table 524 (below) we see that Sweden did indeed collect data on sexual offences for that era, but we have to come to it via the heading “Persons found guilty of criminal offences, by principal offence.” We can see that in 1996 of 1,608 reported rapes, 101 terminated with a conviction (about 6.2%). If we look at 2000 the number has risen to over 2,000 reported rapes (2,024), and there were 121 convictions, or 5.9%.

Table 524. Persons found guilty of criminal offences, by principal offence
Offence 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Sexual offences  576 567 650 652 675
Rape / Aggrav’d rape  101 115 129 98 121
Source:  Swedish Statistics http://www.scb.se/statistik/AA/OV0904/2000I02/A01S%C3%850201_24.pdf

This is in line with the alleged conviction rate based on reported rapes used by the Home Office as a measure of police success. Actually, the Home Office’s infamous ‘6%  conviction rate’ is the ‘attrition rate’ and the ‘true’ conviction rate in Britain is approx. 50%.

However, simply knowing the size of the problem is not enough. The numbers tell us very little except the risk element and numbers convicted.

Table 526 rescues us a little by giving us the age groups of offenders. Again this table has been truncated to focus on the need of this particular forum and it relates to the one year of 2000.

General speaking most criminal offences are committed by teenagers and those in their early twenties. The reason for this is generally accepted that they usually have not matured and/or have not yet established an ‘investment’ in society.

Oddly, for crimes of a sexual nature, the peak years for offending in not in the 15 – 17, or 18-20 age range but in the mature 30 – 39 and 40 – 49. Or at least that is the impression given by Table 526.  But look again.

Table 526. Persons found guilty of criminal offences, by principal offence and age (2000 only)
Age at time of sanction           
Offence  15–17  18–20  21–24  25–29  30–39  40–49  50–59  60 + 
Sexual offences  56 41 48 68 166 129 107 60
Rape / Aggravate rape  6 7 19 16 37 23 13
Source:  Swedish Statistics http://www.scb.se/statistik/AA/OV0904/2000I02/A01S%C3%850201_24.pdf

 

Were the teenage years to be ‘spread’ into decades (as for the 30 – 39 and 40 – 49 age groups), the picture is very different (see Table 526-A). Suddenly, in the 10 year age range (from 15 – 24) a similar number of rapes convictions are recorded.

Table 526-A. (redefined) Persons found guilty of criminal offences, by principal offence and age (2000 only)
Age at time of sanction           
Offence  15 – 24 25–29  30–39  40–49  50–59  60 + 
Sexual offences  145 68 166 129 107 60
Rape / Aggravate rape  32 16 37 23 13
Source:  Swedish Statistics http://www.scb.se/statistik/AA/OV0904/2000I02/A01S%C3%850201_24.pdf

 

The second highest conviction for both rape and sexual offences are in the age group 15 – 24.

This might be seen by some as ‘playing with numbers’ but it should be viewed as bringing standardisation and comparing like with like. The reader should take the view that to compare a 2 year age range with a 10 year one is likely to give rise to skewed results.

If we alter the parameters yet again – as in Table 526-B – another picture emerges. Now we see that the second largest offending group convicted are in the 18- 29 age band.

Table 526-B. (redefined) Persons found guilty of criminal offences, by principal offence and age (2000 only)
Age at time of sanction          
Offence 15–17 18- 29 30–39 40–49 50–59 60 +
Sexual offences 56 157 166 129 107 60
Rape / Aggravate rape 6 42 37 23 13
Source:  Swedish Statistics http://www.scb.se/statistik/AA/OV0904/2000I02/A01S%C3%850201_24.pdf

 

There then arises a small complication.

Statistics Sweden also published data on victimisation. Table 485 (below) displays the age range and percent of people subjected, in 2007, to violence or physical threat – this can include domestic violence and not solely rape.

As can be seen (below) those in the age range 16 – 24 are the group most likely to experience violence in some form (over 20%). Soon after that age bracket the incidence tumbles to 10%, i.e. by the age of 35 – 44. It bottoms-out at age 45 -54, and rises slightly in the subsequent age groupings.

But again there is something amiss.

Given that, offending is more or less age parity, meaning that both victim and perpetrator are of approximate ages (except for infants and pensioners),  

Just at the point when the above graphs (Table 526 etc) are telling us that sexual offending is most common the number of victims of violence is at its lowest.  In the age group 15- 24 offending at 145 does not correspond with the bar chart in Table 485 which shows most victims are in the 16 -24 age group (Table 526  v  Table 485). Has the pattern of offending depicted for 2007, at Table 485, altered from the era of 1996 (see Table 524 above) ?

 END of Part 1.

Go to Part 2.

Sweden’s Rape Data – Part 2

By Robert Whiston FRSA  Sept 2nd 2010

When we left Part 1 we were looking at Table 485 (right), which indicated the age of victims and considering the apparent inconsistencies with the age profile of offenders versus victims.

Table 526-A (also in Part 1) depicted offenders in age groups from 15- 24 to 60 +. For Part 2 this has been converted into a graph (see below). The number of people found guilty of a criminal sex offence was highest in the 30 – 39 age group. 

To underline this discrepancy in Swedish data, Table 526-A from Part 1, has been converted into a chart (see ‘Persons found guilty’ below).

The ‘Combined’ trend line is composed of both rape offences and sex offences other than rape. ‘Rape Only’ is as its name implies.

Trend lines moving in opposite directions require further inquiry. We can see in Tables 485 a lessening in victimisation during the middle years, e.g. 35-54. But in ‘Table 526-A’ we see the very opposite, namely an increase in offending among 30-39 year olds, which takes in part of those years.

It is only after the post 50 or 55 age that both trends move in harmony.

Could it be that cases where the persons  subjected to violence or physical threat, do not result in criminal proceedings in Sweden because of their superficial nature ?

Could it be that by the age of 30 or 39 such threats of violence or physical violence result in action being taken and the incident reported to the police ? We are left to speculate.

Fig 3 displays the numbers “proceeded against” for rape in England & Wales in all courts for the year 2006. The lower of the two trend lines (the pink line) displays the number found ‘guilty’ irrespective of actual guilt or innocence.

Although the age intervals are different for the English there is, nonetheless, a sympathetic movement around the age groups of25-45.  

There has been a propensity, most probably for political and funding purposes, to depict Britain as a land benighted by prevalent sexual offending.

Sweden had a population of 8,876,000 in 2000 and by 2009 it had grown only to 9 million. Britain’s population is approx 6 times larger at 55 million, yet looking at the two charts; Britain’s total for ‘guilty’ rape convictions is inverse to its size, e.g. 50 for Sweden with a population of 9 million and 150 convictions for a country of 55 million.

There are numerous tables and charts showing England & Wales (see Fig 4, below), as having one of the world’s highest rates of rape offending. But as we can see from the charts above the patterns of sex offending is very similar in both Sweden and Britain.

Below is one the many tables showing Britain, in 2006, as a world leader among women reporting rape (not actual rapes, just reports to police). It is taken from “Different systems, similar outcomes ? Tracking attrition in reported rape cases in eleven countries” a 2009 publication by Liz Kelly & Jo Lovett.

Its authors, Liz Kelly & Jo Lovett, more or less have to concede that Pan-European comparisons are almost impossible given the different reporting rates, differing procedures adopted, type of legislation in force, the onus of proof and standards required. Many countries are, therefore, far from Britain’s facilitating stance.

In Part 1 we saw how re-arranging data into 10 yearly grouping can alter profiles.

There are no direct comparisons between Swedish English data. This is particularly apparent in age groupings. Fig 3 (above) is reproduce here as a bar chart and renamed Fig 5 to aid visual comparison with bar charts available from Sweden.

Fig 5 and Fig 6, below, attempt to standardise the age intervals for the two sets of data.

Fig 5 related to the number of court proceedings in England & Wales for rape only, in all courts, for the single year of 2004. In that year there were 254 cases that came to trial involving persons aged between 10 to 17 and there were 30 guilty verdicts (approx 12%). But the actual percentages are not of as much interest as the trend lines by age of accused.

For comparison purposes the age group ranging from 10  to 19 in the English data has to be ignored as it is not comparable to the 15 – 17 Swedish age groupings.

If we take the age of 19 as a common starting point we see that in both the Swedish and English data the peak has already been reached, if somewhat suddenly at 19-25 and 18-29. But whereas in Sweden the trend drops by age 20-39, in England it remains at the same level, i.e. from 26 – 45.

If Sweden convicts 42 persons for rape in the 18-29 age group and, say, 37 in the 30 – 39 age group (see Table 526-B in Part 1), then one would expect England to convict 6 times that number, i.e. 246 and 222.  But England, in 2004, only convicted 140 in each of the age groups from 19 to 45.

Fig 5 depicts in Blue rape cases taken to trial in 2004, with the dark Red bars exclusively depicting guilty verdicts for rape offences. Fig 6 is slightly different in that it shows, in Blue, Swedish guilty verdicts for general sex offences with dark Red bars showing guilty rape verdicts (for the year 2000 only).

Immediately, one can see that the dark red bars in both charts move in sympathy to age of offender, namely downwards with greater age. The fact that one has data from 2000 and the other from 2004 is immaterial since the offending levels are consistent over time.

One could speculate that as rape is a small proportion of the many types of sex offences that criminalized the proportion shown in the Swedish date, i.e. ‘all sex offences’ might very well reflect the ratio of lesser sex offences to be found in English courts.

Types of Offending

In the 10 years since 1999 – when the Home Office’s sex offending review of team (SORT), began its work in readiness for the 2003 Act, attitudes have evolved, albeit slightly.

There is now an acceptance that some false allegations are made; there is now an acceptance that a second victim is the person wrongly accused of rape; there is now an acceptance that false allegations of rape are not the faintly absurdly small figure of 2% but more likely to be 15% +.

However, there has yet to be a breakthrough in the way rape is regarded. For some reason, best excused perhaps by psychologists, rape is placed in the same category as homicide in the Pantheon of serious crimes. Rationally murder and rape are not comparable, in the same way common assault is not comparable with murder.

Repugnant as rape may be, murder, mass-murder, crimes against humanity and genocide are still the termination of peoples’ lives when rape is not.

Endless Fascination

The obsession by some women’s groups with rape is possibly unhealthy and possibly destructive. It would be wrong and misleading to describe their obsession as similar to a Stockholm Syndrome but there is something in their behaviours which falls outside normal responses to a crime or a personal assault.

“Stockholm Syndrome” is a psychological term used by criminologists to describe a hostage situation but where, paradoxically, the hostages come to admiration and empathise with the hostage-taker (based on a bank siege in Stockholm, Aug 1973). The reverse of this is known as the “Lima Syndrome” (1996), i.e. where hostage-takers come to feel sorry for their hostages and let them go.

It is this obsession – often by women who have never been raped – that blocks progress to the next tier in tackling the problem.

Hapless v Habitual

Some, if not all, women’s groups fail to differentiate between the Hapless rapist and the Habitual rapist.

Women’s groups can manage to differentiate when it is a woman accused of some heinous crime, say child abuse. Invariably, then the argument is trotted out that she was ‘depressed’, taking medication, was under an enormous strains, couldn’t cope, had been unhappy for a long time.

These argument are used even is the most obscene cases such as Myra Hindley and Rose West. 

Myra Hindley was put on trial with Ian Brady for the sadistic sexual killing of 5 (or more), children between July 1963 and October 1965. The sadism contained with in the audio tapes of their victims set new levels of depravity.

Rose West was charged with her husband Fred West that between 1967 and 1987 they both tortured, raped and murdered at least 12 young women and girls, many at the couple’s home. The levels of depravity were probably equal to or in excess of those in the Brady & Hindley trial but there were no audio tapes of the sadism for comparison purposes.

If we can differentiate between persistent murderers, recurrent murdering and accidental homicide, i.e. manslaughter, why can’t this distinction be applied to rape and sex offending ?

In cases where the female is charged with gross offences and where the above excuses are unlikely to be believed the judicial tactic is to ascribe it to ‘being under the influence of an evil mind’, usually a man, and if that looks unlikely to mitigate with a plea of hormonal imbalance resulting in ‘mood swings’.

Serial Offending

This seems to fascinate women and women commentators to the point of distraction. A commonly view held is that a rapist, having once raped, is likely to rape again, and again, and again. That logic results in the none too thoughtful conclusions that all rapists are serial rapists.

If that were true then once all rapists were in prison, all rapes would cease. The theoretical dead end this induces is overcome by falling back on the position that ‘all men’ are inherently rapists and therefore all men will rape, sooner or later.

Examination of the numbers in prison, vis-à-vis offences committed, and the number of offences committed by the same person, shows how ridiculously untenable is this position

Fig 4, below, shows that of a sample of 1.057 serious sex assault offenders (NB this also includes those that have committed rape), approx 375 had no previous convictions. Less than 150 had one previous conviction and less than 95 had one previous conviction.

The above table, taken from Police Research paper No 144 [1], is of males aged under 45 years, convicted for the first time in 1995-97 of rape or serious indecent assault of an adult female. There were 678 in the study with previous convictions and these were matched to a control group of offenders with a general criminal history.

The study revealed that:

  • 36% of the 1,057 sample had no previous convictions.
  • Only 7% of those convicted of a serious sexual offence had a conviction for previous sexual offences.
  • However, 50% had convictions for violence

The bad news is that when comparing the 678 offenders previously convicted of serious sexual assault with a matched control group of general offenders it was shown that:

 ‘A custodial sentence at the previous conviction, having a previous conviction for ‘other wounding etc.’, robbery (or assault with intent to rob), stealing in a dwelling, arson, kidnapping and cruelty to children all indicated a significantly increased risk of subsequent conviction for SSA.”.

However, overall the study was far more positive when it put its findings into perspective. It concluded that the analyses illustrated ‘only a slightly enhanced risk’ in terms of how much more likely certain offenders (those who possess certain types of previous convictions) are to be convicted of a SSA.

What can risk assessment professionals and other agencies take away from these findings ? The analyses illustrate risk in terms of how much more likely certain offenders (those who possess certain types of previous convictions) are to be convicted of murder or SSA, compared with other offenders. A good number of the findings indicate that many categories of conviction carry only a slightly enhanced risk of subsequent serious offending (greater than one, but less than twice as likely to receive a subsequent conviction for murder or a serious sexual offence than a general offender).

The difference between the Hapless and the Habitual offender in shown in Fig 4 and in the text above. The connection between the Hapless not re-offending is displayed in the interaction between the conclusions in Police Research paper No 144 and Fig 4.

END


[1]Murder and Serious Sexual Assault: What criminal histories can reveal about future serious offending  2002, (http://library.npia.police.uk/docs/hopolicers/prs144.pdf)  

Greedy for rape

 Robert Whiston FRSA May 23rd 2011

Ken Clarke stumbled into a minefield the other day (18th May 2011), when attempting to answer general policy questions on sentencing during a radio programme.

Was he set up or was he just clumsy with the wording of his answers ? 

A bit of both is probably the answer. But it did reveal that today no man can speak about rape and survive unscathed.

Rape now is a topic only women can talk about and only they have the right to choose the terms on which it is discussed. And since women’s knowledge of the subject is never allowed to gets above knee high, all discussion is undertaken at an anecdotal level or under a blanket of ignorance and prejudice.

What cannot be permitted to be discussed is the very harsh reality that ‘modern women’ are as greedy for sex as the stereotypical man has always been portrayed as being throughout history. Women’s preference for sex is no longer confined to the bedchamber; they now make the first overtures and set the time and scene. Sex is on their terms – but it comes with a veto, and thus any unsatisfactory sexual encounter is now fairgame to be called  rape.

The gross misrepresentation of Ken Clarke was appalling. He was seriously attempting to address the problems facing prisons and the bloated population caused by the creation of a hundreds of new crimes created under New Labour. One example of these new crimes are the offences of sodomy and indecent assault which are now, since the 2003 Act, called rape.

Dumbing Down

The topic of rape somehow gives the media instant free licence to intimidate, distorts, denigrate and twist meanings. Sadly, this is not an entirely new phenomenon. It has been a creeping cancer first identified some years ago in published reports and studies. Some of these were under the control of Liz Kelly and others fell under the thrall of like minded women insideWhitehall.

Faced with the sort of blackmail last seen reserved for homosexuals in the 1950s, the intimidation of being outed as anti-women and threatened with being unsympathetic to women has worked a treat.  Working under these conditions have combined to restrict discussion to an unhealthy low intellectual level.

Distorted Studies

“Without Consent” (2007) was a study prepared by the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) and was a review to assess progress of an earlier joint review (2002) undertaken by HMIC and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI).

The reason why some trouble is taken to identify this paper is because it has been quoted and mis-used by women MPs extensively – misquoting, one suspects, in order to badger ministers and intimidate policy makers into doing the wrong things.

Take for instance the antics and statements of MPs such as Meg Munn, Caroline Flint, Glenda Jackson, Yvette Cooper and Maria Eagle to block reform of rape anonymity reformss (July 2010). The latter, Maria Eagle, objected to anonymity for rape defendants because, she said:

  •  “ . . .95% of rapes are not reported to the police-these are figures taken from the joint inspection of the Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.”

HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) may very well have put this assertion in their publication but they gave no source or citation. They merely repeated the hearsay they had picked up on their travels. They have no idea if the alleged 95% is a true figure or if the 75% is more likely or if it is one made up on the back of an envelope.

The quote can be found on pages 8 and 34 of “Without Consent” [1] and the paragraph read:

  • “Estimates from research suggest thatbetween 75 and 95 per cent of rape crimes are never reported to the police. Studies show thatthe decision not to report is often based on a combination of factors and thatmany of these are connected to the notion of ‘real rape’ – thatis, committed by a stranger, in a public place or in the context of a break-in, and involving force and injury.

So Maria Eagle was maybe over-egging the pudding by citing 95% when a more conservative figure of 75% might have added gravitas to an otherwise juvenile exchange.

Yvette Cooper’s objection to anonymity for rape defendants was based, bizarrely, on the premise thatit was wrong to “think that rape defendants should be treated differently from every other kind of defendant”, little realising that all (not just some) rape accusers are all treated differently from all other accusers (Hansard, 8 July 2010, Column 561).

Lesbian relationships are noted for being more violent, physically and sexually, than heterosexual ones. Yet Maria Eagle went on to assert using, she claimed, “some figures derived from official statistics” that:

  • “Every week, up to 2,000 women are raped; up to 10,000 are sexually assaulted.”

No where in the HMIC report are such numbers mentioned. Police records don’t how that number so what are these official statistics and where do they come from ? She says they come from the Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary but given the above (and a Ministry of Justice that is unable to verify them) that claim has to be suspect (another typical feminist manoeuvre in hoping no one will look for the figures).

Over a 12 month period, using Ms. Eagle’s arithmetic, this would amount to 104,000 and 520,000 respectively.

There are – in board terms – 30 million women in Britain and 20 million of a sexually active age (say 15 – 60). A form of logic would dictate that within the space of 40 years each and every one of these women will, by Maria Eagle’s reckoning, have been raped or sexually assaulted (and the unlucky ones more than once). We are half way through that time preiod.

Even if the 12,000 rapes reported to police per annum represent only 25% of the said “problem” this totals only 48,000 rape incidents per annum.

Maria Eagle approach to numbers has not been thought through and this is whatthe Americans call Henhouse Arithmetic.

Mostly the Young

Maria Eagle made a far more valid point when she highlighted that“a third of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under the age of 16.” This is true, and since we know a lot more about underage sex (prevalence and frequency), does that mean we can extrapolates to other age groups ?

The danger Maria Eagle and her troupe pose is in their blanket approach which they adopts to all rape data.

As illustrated in the chart below (Fig 2.1), if one third, say 30%, of reported rapes occur among under 16 year olds, and two thirds (say 60%) of reported rapes occur among under 35 year olds, very few rapes are left to be distributed among the remaining age groups.

The result of these two inescapable facts is thatthe risk of being rape when aged 35 or 45 or older is numerically infinitesimal.

With Glenda Jackson now old enough to be drawing her State pension and the others far from being spring chickens, the likelihood of a rape befalling any of the female MPs cited above is very slender. This does, of course, raise the issue of how relevant are the concerns of these women MPS and how closely do they reflect the majority of women who are younger than they are and whose moral outlook would perhaps shock those of an older generation.

Two articles are already posted to this blog site which detail and analysis the numbers and ages of victims. They can be foundat:

  1. Rape – morals and motives”   (https://falseallegations.wordpress.com/2010/11 )
  2. “Precarious Rape Data – 16 to 25″ year olds” (https://falseallegations.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/6)

Looking at the photographs and graphics in those two articles underscores the possibility thatthe female MPs are now increasingly irrelevant to the debate

Valid Excuses

An American forensic journal has recently cast doubt on a sacred cow tenet of feminist rape lore. This is the lore thatstates that regardless of the delay in reporting the incident to the police the alleged rape claim is as valid as if it had occurred within the last hour.

The other most well known feminist rape lore – and there are many others not so well known – is thatthe woman must always be believed no matter how unlikely.

“Without Consent” looks at these cases which are allegedly not reported and lists them. It states that“A number of studies have explored the reasons for not reporting and a wide range has been documented.” They are probably well known to some but it might prove useful to go through the nine listed and question if not burst a few balloons along the way.

  1. not naming the event as rape (and/or a crime) oneself

It might seem curious thatif a person believes they have not been raped this is counted as a rape. The state, and the organs of state, have been given such tremendous powers that the opinion of the person involved appears to count for little. This is a mission creep first seen in domestic violence data collection and one suspects is another US import

  1. thinking that the police or others will not define the event as rape

 Some of these ‘reasons’ verge on being little better than lame excuses. Why would the police not think it was something other than rape if it was rape ? The police are paid to do a job, not make value judgements.

  1. fear of being disbelieved

 How can this happen if the event took place in the way described and thatway constituted a rape ?  In more general terms it could be said that anyone reporting a robbery or a theft might fear not being believed by the police.

  1. fear of blame or judgement

 Judgementalism is no longer in vogue and hasn’t been for 30 years. This appears to be yet another weak excuse for not reporting a bona fidi rape – if it is bona fidi

  1. distrust of the police, courts or the legal process

 Of all the excuse so far this seems a more reasonable one for a class or classes of people.

  1. fear of family and friends knowing or of public disclosure

 Public disclosure is never going to happen nor in the majority of counter claims for perverting the course of justice (such is the protection for complainants), so it is a weak even disingenuous excuse. Friends and family come in all shapes and sizes but it would be unfair to tar all friends in such a way and describe all families as emotionally sterility.

  1. fear of further attack or intimidation

 This has more validity given the society we now live in and therefore has more traction as a real possibility than all the others so far mentioned.

  1. divided loyalty in cases involving current or ex-intimates

 This arises only out of human stupidity and legislative meddling. Rape within a marriage was always going to be problematical as the one flesh tenet and procreation of children would inevitably clash with amended rape laws. NB. It is of interest to note that all the alleged spousal rapes have in fact (bar one or two) involved separated spouses so it is something of a myth.

  1. language or communication issues.

 This is a barrier regardless of country or century but not insurmountable

Why Britain ?

Marie Eagle touched on the Achilles heel of the whole debate when she said in the same debate, “We can say that reports to the police have doubled in the last 10 years, which is a good thing,” but is it ?

There are, by their own admission, no reliable figures for rapes and they dismiss those recorded by police as only the tip of the iceberg. So how can this doubling have any meaning since we know not what the original base was ?

And how likely is it that reported rape (which no doubt reflect the number of rapes) should have doubled when DV in Britain (a useful rule of thumb guide) has fallen and rape offences across the Western world have slumped.

Why should Britainbe held up and accused as the only advanced country with a supposed higher year on year level of rape ?

Internal research

From the recommendations found in Chp 2 of the Stern Review on rape (2010), we see that Association of Chief Police Officers (ACOP), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), all found they were hindered in some way when dealing with rape crimes. [2]

She also discloses that the National Policing Improvement Agency has:

  • “. . . .  a small internal research programme looking atthe issue of achieving best evidence in rape investigations, and we recommend thatthis plays a part in finding a solution that preserves the benefits for the victim but is more effective in the courtroom.”

The Stern Review acknowledges (p 18) the controversy surrounding false allegations and the strong feelings (both ways) that the subject arouses. As a consequence it recommends that:

  • “ . . . the Ministry of Justice commissions and publishes an independent research report to study the frequency of false allegations of rape compared with other offences and the nature of such allegations.”
  • “ . . . . We recommend that the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice should work with the National Statistician in order to find a way of presenting criminal justice data that enables comparisons to be made of the outcomes for various offences, and makes clear whatconclusions can and cannot be drawn from those data.”

Given the snail’s pace of reform and the resistance to entertain any change, this tiny concession represents a huge step forward.

Overall, the impression still being received by ministers and Whitehallis still thatthatthere were very few false allegations. One senior CPS source (p 13), confirmed this view to Stern but as a CPS employee she/he would have known that80% of cases are dropped and never reach court, so thatis a misguiding ‘steer’ given to Stern.

Stern reiterates research which suggests that, “a figure of 8% to 10% of reported rapes could well be false reports” –this is likely to be a gross underestimate. Other research she does not mention puts the figure at 50% to 80%. With the current lack of data either estimate range could prove to be correct.

Nevertheless, Stern agrees that the effect on those falsely accused is severe and long lasting “ . . . even when they have been cleared and the allegation has been established as false.”

Information about the prevalence of false allegations is so scanty, says Stern, thatthey have recommended thatresearch be undertaken to establish the frequency of false allegations because it comes up so often in discussions about rape

However, Stern is totally mislead when she states that anyone “making false allegations can be given a substantial prison sentence.” From published newspaper reports stretching back over the last 10 years, the longest sentence meted out for perverting the course of justice in a rape case was 3 years. Most that are brought to court are given a 12 month or 2 year sentence (invariably suspended), parole or community work. The vast majority – and the numbers are impossible to confirm – receive no prosecution but a warning from the police for wasting their time. She also wrongly claims that such cases “are well reported in the media” they are not. Those minority of cases that are reported are not fully reported (date, town, age etc) and requests to newspapers for more basis information fails to bring a reply.

END