Women Not Reporting Rape Because of Lack of Faith in Legal System

Following the post I wrote last week on Michael Le Vell and a few of the comments on that post, after receiving a press release today with the above headline, I thought I’d write about the survey conducted by Reveal Magazine, for the sake of balance.

The survey revealed that of the women asked, a rather shocking 16% said that they’d been raped at some point in their lives. Of those in the 16%, only 20% reported the crime to the police and the main reasons for their reluctance was a combination of thinking that the chances of conviction were too low and lack of faith in the legal system.

Perhaps the most shocking part for me, though, was the following passage:

“Latest figures from Ministry of Justice and the Home Office estimate up to 95,000 rapes committed each year, but as low as only 15% are reported to police, only one in five of those cases end up in court and only a third of those result in convictions”

In my previous post, my main focus was on the false claims made by people in court and how damaging they can be to genuine cases. The fact that of the almost 100,000 cases of rape every year, roughly 5000 of those result in conviction, is it any wonder that women are feeling totally despondent about their chances of finding justice?

Further to this, statistics from RAINN suggest that around 70% of cases of sexual assault are perpetrated by someone who is already known to the victim, leaving many women in a position where, if they don’t get a guilty verdict, they’ll potentially have to have daily contact with their assailant, the bleak truth becomes all too clear.

The main point here is that somewhere along the line, thousands and thousands of women are being let down by a legal system that only seems to make the vulnerable more vulnerable and we need to find better ways to encourage women to report crimes and methods of supporting them once they do.

For more information on where to get help, please look at the Rape Crisis site. You can also call 0808 802 99 99 and speak to a trained advisor who can help you to find your local rape crisis center.

(Lines are open 12noon-2.30pm & 7pm-9.30pm every day of the year)


One thought on “Women Not Reporting Rape Because of Lack of Faith in Legal System

  1. The problem is that it’s incredibly difficult to convict someone of rape. It’s very sad but it’s part of the innocent until proven guilty system and if it was changed then our entire legal system would fall apart. In order to get a conviction there needs to be physical evidence that the sex not only took place but was also non-consensual, so unless there is a witness or video evidence it would normally require a woman to go to the police within hours of the rape and to undergo a very invasive physical examination. Once any DNA and signs of force have faded then there is pretty much no chance of a conviction, but I can’t imagine that many victims of rape are in the right frame of mind or have the confidence to go to the police so soon after the event. It must be so awful for women who take a while to finally get the courage to report it only to be told that there’s no-longer any physical evidence to back up the claim. But the other side of it all is that if rape convictions were issued purely on the word of the accusers then there would be thousands of innocent men each year whose lives would be ruined by false accusations.

    The whole thing is awful and I’m not sure that there’s any way to fix it, but women need to be made more aware of the fact that they need to report rape as soon as possible and I do think that there should be specially trained support teams to help them through the process and provide counselling afterwards. It’s bad enough that women have to fear being raped, we shouldn’t have to fear reporting it too.

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