We are calling for an end to the arrest and prosecution of women lying about rape.
What’s the problem?
For over 12 years WAR has worked with women in the UK who were prosecuted who did not lie. Some were imprisoned.
We have found help to defend themselves from prosecution for crimes such as perverting the course of justice or wasting police time.
There have been several miscarriages of justice - often following a negligent investigation. In some cases a woman was accused of injuring herself, and evidence of the crime had been disregarded, misinterpreted or destroyed.
In one case a 15-year-old woman won £20,000 compensation and the attacker was later jailed (read more). In another case a teenager was issued a fine for wasting police time; we helped her get the charge dropped.
A married woman was jailed for lying when she retracted her report of marital rape, and the authorities knew she’s been raped and prosecuted her for making a ‘false retraction’. She quickly appealed and her jail term was quashed so she was released. But the courts refused to quash her conviction, leaving her with a criminal record. We later helped her win criminal injuries compensation in a landmark case.
Sentences for false reports recently grew much harsher, and are disproportionate compared to other crimes.
As a policy, prosecuting women harshly for lying about rape has a chilling effect on the public who get a distorted impression of these cases, are blown out of proportion by sensationalist media. Also, criminal justice agencies are distracted into trying to catch someone out who might be lying. The reality is that the proportion of false allegations of rape is far lower than for other false reports, such as phone theft and insurance fraud. The prosecutions put victims off reporting, for fear of being disbelieved or even prosecuted.
What you can do . . .
- Share our campaigning materials
- Help us challenge this sexist policy. Stop the criminal justice system heaping blame onto individual women for the social myths about widespread false reports of rape.
- Write to your MP and the media. You can demand a change of policy. Some other countries do not have such a punitive approach eg in the US, they may just issue a fine or jail for a few months.
- Urge them to focus instead on the appalling falling convictions for rape of women and children. Rape has been de facto decriminalised while women are being sent to jail for allegedly lying. Domestic violence prosecutions are not much better.
See Report of Jail Rapists, Not Rape Victims public meeting in the House of Commons, which brought together a number of family justice campaigns.
Read more on False Allegations
Submission: Sentencing Council’s Consultation on Perverting the Course of Justice
Submission to Sentencing Council’s Consultation on Perverting the Course of Justice Guidelines 22 June 2022 Introduction WAR is a multiracial grassroots women’s organisation set up in 1976. It provides practical support to victims of all types of sexual and domestic violence, and it campaigns for changes in the systems of criminal justice, asylum and compensation. …
Keir Starmer’s record on rape
Keir Starmer’s record on rape Camden New Journal Letters 6 February 2020 The record on rape We take issue with the letter from MARTIN PLAUT of NW5 (‘Errors in attacks on Starmer’, January 30). He claims that rape “is one of the issues [Sir Keir] feels most strongly about and has worked on most assiduously. His determination has been …
Cyprus rape case: on the day before sentencing Women Against Rape points to similar outrageous cases in the UK
Cyprus rape case: on the day before sentencing Women Against Rape points to similar outrageous casesin the UK We share the outrage of women in Cyprus protesting against the conviction of a 19-year-old British woman who faces prison after reporting gang rape by 12 Israeli men in Ayia Napa. We welcome the UK government’s concern at the …
Evidence to Home Affairs Committee on Domestic Violence, 5 July 2018
Evidence to Home Affairs Committee on Domestic Violence, 5 July 2018 Summary: This evidence covers five key policy areas that result in increased vulnerability to domestic violence and lack of resources to escape violent men: Family courts and domestic violence Austerity cuts and domestic violence Destitution – a recipe for domestic violence The hostile environment …
Open Letter to Keir Starmer RE: Consultation on alleged false allegations of rape
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% …
Layla Ibrahim film interview
Layla Ibrahim on Victoria Derbyshire Show, 16 Nov 2016
Rape victim falsely accused of lying by police wins £20,000 payout
Rape victim falsely accused of lying by police wins £20,000 payout Police admit wrongly arresting woman assaulted at age 17, but mother criticises force for leaving her daughter traumatized The Guardian Friday 22 May 2015 A rape victim falsely accused of lying by detectives has won £20,000 in damages after suing police under the Human …
House of Commons event “Jail rapists not rape victims”, 2 December 2014 Women and families affected by biased rape investigations were joined by supporters in the House of Commons on Tuesday 2nd December to discuss the campaign, led by Women Against Rape (WAR) and Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP), against the prosecution and imprisonment …
Report: Jail Rapists not Rape Victims, meeting in House of Commons
Report: Jail Rapists not Rape Victims, meeting in House of Commons Women and families affected by biased rape investigations were joined by supporters in the House of Commons on 2 December to discuss the campaign, led by us, against the prosecution and imprisonment of rape survivors. Hosted by John McDonnell MP, the event focused …
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