25 November 2009

Police 'sceptical of rape victims from poor areas'

My comments and thought below in red...emphasis is mine as well.

Police are less likely to believe a rape victim if she lives in a deprived area, according to a report.

So, we don’t believe poor women....WHY not??

The report, "Rape: The Victim Experience Review", used interviews and focus groups with victims, police officers and prosecutors.

Read the report Rape:  The Victim Experience Review

Campaigner and report author Sara Payne found victims who had been drinking, had criminal histories or previously made allegations could face scepticism.

She concluded that "effective" policies are "not being universally adhered to".

The review of how the criminal justice system deals with rape complaints identified a number of inconsistencies.

It found victims were often made to feel "ashamed and responsible" when they came into contact with official agencies and called for a campaign to change attitudes and educate the public about rape.

I think we see this attitude towards rape in the US also.  The victims of rape and sexual assault are generally shunned by friends and family.  People need to be educated on the fact that it is not the victims fault!  Only rapists can stop rape!!

Victims of any crime need to feel that they are taken seriously and that they are supported to overcome the impact a crime has had on them . ~Sara Payne


It also said women who do not appear visibly upset by their ordeal may also have their rape allegations questioned.

For a good explanation of how victims of sexual assault process in their minds what has just happened to them read:  “How the brain regulates emotion after experiencing violent assault”.  Some are in such shock they may not display any emotion right afterwards and some may have experienced similar traumas and become numb to it to protect themselves from further mental anguish.

Some serving police officers said some of their colleagues did not deal with allegations in the way they should.

The report stated: "Officers... can be sceptical of victims for numerous reasons, such as when the victim had been drinking, had made previous allegations, were from a certain area, had an offending history themselves, or simply because they did not behave in the way they would expect a victim to behave."

This just re-victimizes the victim in a whole new way and is akin to victim blaming.

Mrs Payne urged senior officers and prosecutors to crack down on "poor attitudes", and said there was a need for adequate training on how to deal with victims.

More training may help some; however making officers personally responsible for their individual decisions would go a long way in preventing this type of behavior from the officers.

Victim support

The report's author called for funding for rape help centres and for schools to encourage "healthy relationships".

Mrs Payne said: "There is inconsistent treatment of victims of rape by criminal justice agencies.

"Everyone who contributed to the review broadly agreed that effective policy and procedures were in place but that they are not being universally adhered to.

"Victims of any crime need to feel that they are taken seriously and that they are supported to overcome the impact a crime has had on them."

In January Mrs Payne was appointed to the one-year post of Victims' Champion to provide an independent voice to the more than 1.5 million victims and witnesses of crime each year.

Mrs Payne's daughter Sarah, eight, was murdered by a paedophile.

BBC News - Police 'sceptical of rape victims from poor areas'

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