Responses to the Women's National Commission on Priorities for the Ministers for Women
See the file attachment below to read BWRAP's submission (pdf file)
From Women Against Rape
Women’s National Commission Consultation on “Priorities for the Ministers for Women”
Priority 2: TACKLING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND IMPROVING THE WAY WE DEAL WITH WOMEN WHO COMMIT CRIMES
What, in your view, is the top issue to be addressed under this priority?
* Policy changes which the government says will improve the 5.6% conviction rate for reported rape have not been implemented. And they do not address the sexism, racism, and other prejudice and hostility many women face from the police, prosecutors, judges, immigration and compensation authorities. Lack of commitment and negligence in collecting, assessing and presenting evidence, encourage rape and destroy rape survivors.
* Prosecuting women for “false allegations” deters survivors from reporting. An allegation not being proven doesn’t mean it’s false. The Corston Report concluded that prison is inappropriate for women, many of whom have been raped, are ill, or both.
How might we take this forward? Give a practical measure that can be taken to make a real difference:
a) In the short-term (up to five years)
o Police officers, CPS employees, barristers, and judges who undermine rape cases by their lack of commitment or worse must be held accountable (as in other jobs) through effective and public disciplinary procedures, including sacking.
o Rape must be recognised as persecution and therefore grounds for asylum. Women fleeing rape in other countries must be given refugee status and practical support instead of being detained, deported or separated from our children.
o End prosecution and media witch-hunting of rape victims accused of making “false allegations”; including full anonymity in these circumstances.
o Full compensation – abolish discriminatory “character and conduct” judgements.
b) for the next generation (up to 25 years)
* When the role of the criminal justice system in protecting perpetrators of sexual and other violence against women and children is acknowledged and addressed, those who suffer this violence will have much more credibility and higher expectations, and the violators will have much less legitimacy and support. Combined with housing and benefits to escape from violence, compensation reflecting our real economic and emotional losses and labour, and financial independence – including from exploitative employers and from the fathers of our children – this would radically change the relationship between women and men: the only way to end rape.