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.




Fighting for compensation

Good news and appeal

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce that on Tuesday we helped a woman in our network win £10,200 compensation. She had suffered a particularly prolonged and horrific rape but had been denied any award because she was a heroin user at the time she was raped. We represented her at a compensation appeal hearing and are delighted she has finally won some justice.

This follows a very busy period. Following the scandalous Worboys, Reid and Southwark cases this summer, we met with the Director of Public Prosecutions (head of the CPS) and senior officers setting up the new London-wide police teams that have taken over from Sapphire. We told them what changes were needed to improve investigations and prosecutions, and two survivors in our group illustrated the problems by describing their own recent experiences. All were interested and respectful, but we wait to see if there is real change in practice.


Compensation: WAR believed in me and I believed in them

Success story

Ex drug user wins compensation for rape -

I came across the WAR website by chance after failing to obtain justice through the Courts and compensation. I found myself fighting for a criminal injuries award I knew would help me rebuild my shattered life. The psychological effects of my unresolved rape case were devastating and spread outwards affecting every aspect of my life. I became reclusive, unable to trust anyone, let alone have relationships. I suffered at work without realising the real cause.


Letter to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority protesting discrimination on the basis of a woman's "character and conduct"

Dear Peter Spurgeon,

We are writing to complain about discrimination by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority against rape survivors. Paragraph 13 allows CICA Members wide discretionary power to reduce or refuse compensation on the basis of an applicant’s character or conduct. This power is being abused to discriminate against some victims.

In particular, we refer you to the CICA’s recent treatment of Ms S (your ref. x/97/206610-REV1) who, while working as a prostitute in September 1996, was raped, beaten and robbed. Her assailant was prosecuted and sentenced to five, three and three years in prison to run concurrently. Ms S applied for compensation as is her statutory right.


Ms L wins £11,000 at Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority appeal

A rape survivor who was unable to give a full statement to the police applied for compensation three years later, fought an initial refusal – and won!


Woman wins appeal against compensation cut made because she had been drinking

Rape victim's victory ends blame shame

by LOUISE NOUSRATPOUR, Morning Star, 12 August 2008

RAPE victim campaigners demanded changes in the law on Tuesday to stop "old and sexist prejudices" getting in the way of justice after a woman won an appeal against a compensation cut made because she had been drinking.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) admitted on Tuesday that, in the past year, around 14 women had been told that they would receive lower levels of compensation due to alcohol consumption.

But one unnamed woman, who believes that she was raped four years ago after having her drink spiked, successfully overturned a decision by the CICA to cut her compensation because she had been drinking "excessively."

She said that being told that the already meagre standard award of £11,000 would be reduced by 25 per cent "felt like a slap in the face."


Two women raped at knifepoint win £5,000, but Appeal Panel member says rape is not the same for prostitutes

Success story

In 1995 two women won the first private prosecution for rape, assisted by the English Collective of Prostitutes, Legal Action for Women and WAR. They were raped by the same client on different occasions. He got 14 years in prison, reduced to 11 on appeal. In court the defence accused them of inventing the rape in order to claim compensation (a common tactic, sometimes thrown even at women who never apply for compensation). They had intitially been refused compensation for delay in reporting and non-cooperation with the police, but when the man was convicted, the CICA heard an appeal. They went before a Panel of three male QCs, represented by WAR. Although the Panel had already decided to grant an award they commented that there was a question as to whether prostitutes were entitled to the same amount as other women.


Prostitute woman intitially denied compensation wins £4,000 -- 50% reduction for drug convictions

Success story

Ms G was raped and robbed in 1994 while working as a prostitute. She reported it despite the fact that she had convictions related to prostitution and the rapist was sentenced to four years for rape and four years for robbery to run concurrently. In 1995 the CICB turned down an application for compensation in spite of recognising that her convictions "have nothing whatsoever to do with the incident which gives rise to the application" and that "notwithstanding her way of life, she is entitled to say no and no one is entitled to assault her as she was assaulted on this occasion". Her lawyer organised legal aid to cover WAR’s report for the CICA. Ms G organised a housing association worker as a witness. Her story was featured in The Guardian.


Rape survivors win right to sue attacker


Lotto rapist ruling clears way for claims

· Late compensation cases can go ahead, law lords say
· Local authorities face rise in sex abuse payouts

Clare Dyer, legal editor, Thursday January 31, 2008,The Guardian

A woman subjected to a brutal attack by the so-called Lotto rapist, Iorworth Hoare, won a landmark victory in Britain's highest court yesterday, opening the way for thousands of other victims of sexual assault to claim compensation.

The retired teacher, identified only as Mrs A, and five victims of child sex abuse who also took their cases to the House of Lords, had been barred from suing by a six-year time limit for claims based on deliberate assaults.


£156,000 Victory after woman's fall from window ledge wrongly classed as accident, not violence

Success story

In 1992 Ms Q climbed through a window to escape two male acquaintances who after drinking alcohol together had locked her in a room and threatened her with rape. She lost her balance and fell three stories to the ground below. She suffered a broken back, smashed heel, leg injuries, and was unable to care for herself. The police had taken a statement from her within days of the injury, in her hospital bed when she was just out of intensive care and still heavily sedated. She had been unable to report to the male police officer that she had fallen while trying to get away from imminent rape, and that she had a history of child abuse which made her panic before she fell. The men were never prosecuted.


In 1994 her application for compensation was refused after the CICB ruled there had been "no crime of violence". Ms Q appealed, submitting WAR’s expert report.


Woman raped and robbed was initially refused award because of prostitution convictions, but wins £4,000 on appeal

Success story

On 12 March 1996 a women who was violently attacked, raped and robbed won £4,000 compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB). The CICB had initially refused her compensation because she had convictions related to prostitution. The rapist was imprisoned but the CICB turned down her compensation in spite of recognizing that her convictions “have nothing whatsoever to do with the incident”. In using its discretionary powers to deny or reduce compensation in this way, the CICB is increasingly out of step with public opinion. Paragraph 6(c) on Character and Conduct must to be dropped from the CICB guidelines. Compensation should not be based on evidence about the victim’s occupation or “way of life”, sex, race, class, disability, immigration or other legal status, age, sexual preference, etc.

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