This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.

 

 

 

False allegations or miscarriages of justice?

PRESS RELEASE: 27 organisations urge DPP not to prosecute rape victims

Twenty-seven organisations, including rape crisis centres and women’s aid groups, have written to Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), alarmed by rising prosecutions of women for supposed false allegations of rape or domestic violence. They say that such prosecutions are not in the public interest and that they are deterring rape survivors from coming forward.

There are no official figures of how many women are prosecuted for allegedly making a false allegation of rape, but the media has reported about three prosecutions per month in 2010/2011 – an alarming rise compared to around one every two months in 2006/2007.

The organisations joined Women Against Rape in a common response to a CPS consultation on Interim Guidelines for prosecutors. In their letter, (read here) they state that:

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Open Letter to Keir Starmer RE: Consultation on alleged false allegations of rape

We strongly believe that the prosecution of women for alleged false allegations of rape is not in the public interest. This is because:
• It distracts from the true rape scandal that over 90% of rapists get away with it since 90% of rapes are never reported, up to 45% of reports are no-crimed, and the conviction rate for reported rape is 6.5%.

• It gives the misleading impression that false allegations are a major problem when they are in fact extremely rare.

• It deters rape survivors from coming forward. Survivors do a public service by reporting dangerous men so they can be stopped from raping again. This should be encouraged. But many women are now afraid to report in case they are disbelieved and sent to jail.

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Open Letter to Keir Starmer: CONSULTATION ON ALLEGED FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF RAPE

Urgent response to CPS consultation re prosecution of women for alleged for allegations of rape

Dear Friends

We met with Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), in February, and strongly objected to the number of victims wrongly accused of making a false allegation of rape and then prosecuted. We are working with some of them, including Gail Sherwood (sentenced to two years in prison), and Layla Ibrahim (serving a three year sentence) whose sister Sara Arthur was at the meeting.

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Why Women Against Rape opposes prosecutions of women accused of making a false allegation

Some reasons why Women Against Rape opposes prosecutions of women accused of making a false allegation of rape or sexual assault. Evidence given to the DPP, February 2011

1. Alleged false allegations have been a distraction: bungled rape investigations and prosecutions are the problem.

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I accused my husband of rape. I was locked up – and he was set free

In the Media

Exclusive: Sarah said she suffered years of abuse from her brutal partner. But when she reported it to the police, the tables were turned on her and she lost her freedom and her children

Helen Pidd
guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 November 2010 21.34 GMT

At midnight on 28 November last year, Sarah made the phone call she says she thought would save her life. After nine years of abuse from a man she describes as so controlling that she wasn't allowed her own purse, let alone bank card or driving licence, she had finally been pushed over the edge.

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The idea that we are faced with the mutually exclusive objectives of protecting victims of rape and the innocent is false

In the Media

Why women who report rape fall foul of a harsh criminal justice system

Afua Hirsch, legal affairs correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 November 2010 21.00 GMT
 

The criminal justice system is flawed, and is failing to protect the victims of rape adequately.

It's hard to believe that the views of a 17th-century jurist could have any place in the modern law on rape. Sir Matthew Hale was not enlightened even for his time, with his view that "[a] husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract".

But Hale's rule remained the law until 1991, when the House of Lords at last acknowledged it was "no longer acceptable". Twenty years from now we may well look back on the way today's courts approach rape victims with similar disbelief.

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False rape complaint case that split a small community

In the Media

The conviction of a 16-year-old girl for falsely claiming she was raped has caused alarm among campaigners
• Steven Morris
• guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 January 2011 18.15 GMT
 

She should have been in a classroom working towards her GCSE exams, making sure she achieves the grades she needs to study photography at college.

Instead after a gruelling three-day trial the teenager found herself in front of a judge being convicted of falsely claiming that she was raped last summer when she was just 15.

The case has caused alarm among anti-rape campaigners and legal experts who believe it is yet another example of the increasing readiness of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue women – or in this case a girl – who in their eyes falsely claim rape.

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Keir Starmer orders change in dealing with rape claim retraction cases

In the Media

Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer acknowledges legal 'failings' in recent rape claim case

Afua Hirsch
The Guardian, Thursday 16 December 2010
Article history

Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, has ordered a change in the way in which rape claim retraction cases are dealt with.

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has ordered a change in the way government lawyers deal with cases against women who withdraw rape claims, acknowledging "failings" in the handling of a recent victim.

In his first public statement since a woman was freed from jail last month after being convicted of perverting the course of justice for retracting a rape claim, the chief prosecutor in England and Wales has said that from now on, similar cases will require his personal approval.

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Woman jailed for falsely retracting rape claim is freed

In the Media

Lord chief justice says there is important distinction between false allegation of rape and false retraction of rape allegation

Helen Pidd
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 November 2010 14.43 GMT

The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, said the judiciary had a 'duty of compassion for a woman who had already been victimised'. Photograph: Tim Rooke/Rex Features

The most senior judge in England and Wales today freed a mother who had been jailed for retracting "truthful" allegations that she had been raped by her husband.

Overturning her eight-month sentence, Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, criticised the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to prosecute the 28-year-old woman, who he accepted had been the victim of prolonged domestic abuse and been put under pressure by her husband to withdraw the allegations. Judge said there should be "a broad measure of compassion for a woman who had already been victimised".

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