Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Please email your MP re: anonymity for suspects in rape cases

We have drafted an email that you can send to your MP about the recent recommendation of the Home Affairs Select Committee to extend anonymity to suspects in cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

You can find the email address of your MP here.

Please send a copy to the following as well:

Keith Vaz: vazk@parliament.uk

You could also email a copy to:

Theresa May: mayt@parliament.uk

Harriet Harman: harmanh@parliament.uk

Yvette Cooper: coopery@parliament.uk

Please sign our petition too!

Dear ...

I am writing to you to express my concern about the Home Affairs Select Committee's recent recommendation to extend anonymity to suspects in cases of rape and sexual assault until charged or police 'need' to name them.

Each year in England and Wales 85 000 women and 12 000 men are raped. We know that only 10 -15 % of victims report to the police due to “shame, prejudicial media reporting and mistrust in the criminal justice process”.  We also know that rape trials have the lowest conviction rate of any crime because of systemic and institutional disbelief of victims. Our adversarial legal system is predicated on the belief that women and children routinely lie about sexual violence – despite false reports of rape being no higher than any other crime; despite the fact that many ‘false reports’ are due to misogyny within the police who routinely ‘no-crime’ rape without investigating.

As the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) umbrella organisation made clear in their public statement, rape has an extremely high recidivism rate. This recommendation fails to address "the specific justice issues around sexual offences before making this serious recommendation on anonymity. These include very low reporting to the police rates, vulnerable witnesses, and the fact that rape is a known repeat offence."

Sexual violence is the only crime where sympathy is with the perpetrator rather than the victim. It is the only crime where decisions and recommendations about the criminal justice response is based entirely on fallacious assumptions, myths and victim blaming.

I would like the Home Affairs Select Committee to review their recommendation using evidence-based research on anonymity for perpetrators and not assumptions about ‘perpetrators feelings’. I would ask that you not support any attempt to change the law around anonymity for suspects in cases of rape or sexual assault.

Thank you,

 

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7 thoughts on “Please email your MP re: anonymity for suspects in rape cases

  • […] What is their stance on anonymity for suspects in cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence? […]

  • Redskies says:

    Signed and emailed my MP. After all, do we really think that charges could have been brought against Neil Fox, as announced today, if anonymity was given to those accused of sexual offenses.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32022625

  • […] Just as Smith pointed out that the direction of our sympathetic response can and should be, at least partly, governed by rational concerns, it makes no sense here – where there are two directly conflicting claims to sympathy – to place our emotional support with the tiny minority of men whose reputations suffer from false rape accusations. To do so, is to withdraw support from the enormous number of women whose bodies and wellbeing are routinely violated by rapists. It is to claim that the risk of damage to a few men’s reputations is worse than the reality of physical and emotional harm to millions of women. The protection of suspected rapists through anonymity is directly opposed to the right of raped women to have their cases adequately investigated. In this case, there can be no other logical response than to place sympathy with the victims of rape. I urge you to sign this petition calling on the Home Affairs Select Committee to review their recommendation, and to write to your MP to the same effect. […]

  • […] Will you support the current laws on anonymity for suspects in cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence? […]

  • Rosie says:

    Hello
    Firstly thank you for this campaign I completely agree and I’m glad the facts are being published. However just one issue. I have worked on a rape investigation unit in the Met Police and I now investigate domestic sexual assault in another force. The comment that police routinely no crime rape investigations is untrue. This may be have been the case before but that perception is outdated. Every rape that is reported is investigated. A case is only no crimed if their is overwhelming evidence that the offence never took place. And this would have to be evidence clearly disproving the account not simply no evidence. Unfortunately investigators do have to deal with fabrications and this is just part of the job. They must remain professional and investigate all lines of enquiry.
    There are many other problems regarding rape and the police that I think are far more prevalent than ‘no criming’. The unit I worked on was severely under recoursed. Detectives would carry 20-30 investigations, SOIT officers could have up to 50 victims. There is no benefit for anyone in the current situation. I left because I didn’t feel I was helping. I couldn’t I was too thinly spread to be effective. This is just one problem the police face. The other is attitudes, some officers, like wider society, had a truly appalling attitude towards rape. I have heard a supervisor state “women just shouldn’t drink alcohol” and another officer remark “she was unrapable”. I’ve seen front line officers taking initial reports state their support for suspects in disclosable documents. There are some very good police officers and some very dedicated detectives working in difficult conditions and I defend my colleagues but I do not defend attitudes. The issue of sexual violence and victim blaming is societies issue and the police are part of that. I fully support all the hard work that is being done to change attitudes and educate people. This is where change needs to come from. From the very top, Mr Cameron perhaps you could not use sexist language, to gender equality in the playground.

    Many thanks

    Rosie