FOI reveals what rape victims are asked to sign away to the police

Guardian FOI shows level of scrutiny and intrusion on those who report rape to police

Police in some areas are asking rape victims to sign ‘Stafford Statements’ and reveal all their personal information including: all electronic devices, all school records & medical records from birth when they report to the police

A leading Coalition of women’s organisations says it is “extremely disappointed” by the exposure of a postcode lottery and chaos in the way the Police treat rape victims and handle disclosure of evidence revealed today (25 September) in the third part of a Guardian newspaper special investigation into the way the police and courts handle rape cases (1).

Yesterday it was revealed that, in an effort to improve its performance figures on rape CPS leaders have told prosecutors to reduce the number of rape cases they charge (2). Earlier this week we heard that young adult men are much less likely than men aged over 24 years to be convicted of rape when tried in court (3).

Today’s report, based on an FOI to police forces and which finds widely varying practice, gives detailed insight into why so few cases ever make it to court and why victims of rape find the system so grueling and hostile.

EVAW Coalition Co-Director Rachel Krys said:

“The discovery that the police are all over the place in the way they treat people reporting rape is extremely disappointing, but no surprise.

“Our members who work with rape survivors tell us that the prospect of being asked to give permission for all this personal information to be examined is extremely anxiety-inducing for those considering reporting rape. On the other hand – we hear constant recommendations from those in power that those who have been raped should report straight away.

“We have a situation where a woman’s character, background and even social media activity are being used to decide whether or not her complaint of rape will be investigated and prosecuted. It is misogynistic and discriminatory, and very likely to be crashing into established rules on not building cases based on a woman’s sexual history.

“We need an end-to-end review of the way the police, prosecutors and courts handle rape. This week’s revelations have been not been a surprise to frontline women’s organisations who support survivors every day. We need top level, concerted action to change this now, because it does not have to stay like this – the offence is not inevitable and neither is a failure to protect or to provide justice.

“The justice system in relation to rape is broken. Why are our political leaders not leading the call to fix the system and protect women and girls?”

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