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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fawcett Society: Rape needs to be taken more seriously

The Fawcett Society has responded to policy proposals unveiled by the UK Government yesterday around sentencing for sex offenders.

Anna Bird, Acting Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society says:

“Every years thousand of women across the UK are the victim of rape. To suggest that some of those rapes are not ‘serious,’ that there are shades of sexual consent, is offensive and legally incorrect."

“The majority of sexual violence occurs between two people that know each other – partners, friends, colleagues. The stranger in the alleyway scenario is comparatively rare – but remains the most likely image people have of rape. It is not just women who are victims of rape, but also men.

“Far from challenging wrong ideas about what constitutes rape, the way in which today’s policy proposals have been presented by the Minister suggests common misconceptions about sexual violence exist at the heart of government.

“The Ministry of Justice urgently needs to tackle shockingly low reporting levels – almost 90 per cent of rapes are never even reported to the police, and the shamefully high attrition rate – few of those cases that are reported make it all the way to court.

“In the light of today’s events, we call on the government to restate its commitment to tackling sexual violence in all its forms and to clarify that rape is always a serious crime, the perpetrators of which should always face the full force of the law.”

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