Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

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Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby sje46 » Fri May 21, 2010 4:00 pm UTC

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... ymity.html
The coalition Government yesterday pledged to extend the current ban on identifying victims in rape cases to defendants as well.
It would mean only those convicted of rape would ever be named but the controversial move last night split opinion.

Rape support groups said it was an "insult" that would discourage victims from reporting attacks but those have been falsely accused welcomed the decision as long overdue.
The pledge was included in the Government's detailed coalition agreement which also revealed plans for a complete review of sentencing policy, raising the prospect of an end to short term prison sentences.
It also pledged to give anonymity to teachers facing accusations of assault or other offences by their own pupils.
It comes amid concerns careers are ruined by staff who are victims of malicious and false allegation from their students.
Officials last night refused to give further details on how the rape defendant ban would work but victims are currently afforded protection for life from the moment they report a rape.
There has been growing pressure to change the law for defendants amid claims false allegations ruin the lives of innocent people.
The Liberal Democrats changed their policy in 2006 to advocate giving defendants in rape cases anonymity.
The change was approved at the party's annual conference that year, which came just a week after the case of Warren Blackwell, 36, who was falsely accused of a sex attack by a 'serial liar' who had a history of crying rape.
Mr Blackwell spent more than three years in jail and was put on the Sex Offender Register, but his conviction was quashed by the Appeal Court.
Christine Hamilton and her husband Neil, the former Tory minister, were arrested in 2001 because of false sexual assault claims by Nadine Milroy-Sloan. No charges were ever brought and Milroy-Sloan was later jailed for three years for perverting the course of justice.
Mrs Hamilton said: "Both Neil and I would clearly welcome this move and is something we have said all along should happen.
"The stigma sticks with you in a rape case and creates complete and utter havoc. It can destroy lives."
Solicitor Neil Freeman last year represented Lewis Linford, a former star of the soap opera Emmerdale who was cleared at Hull Crown Court of groping a woman at a nightclub.
Mr Freeman, who is also known as "Mr Loophole" for helping television personalities beat motoring charges, said false claims can have a "potentially life destroying" effect on the accused and their families.
He added: "This is about protecting the innocent not the guilty."
But Ruth Hall, of Women Against Rape, said: "If men accused of rape got special rights to anonymity, it would reinforce the misconception that lots of women who report rape are lying.
"False rape allegations are extremely rare, but receive disproportionate publicity.
"Of course, being wrongly accused is a terrible ordeal but the same can be said of being wrongly accused of murder, theft, fraud or any other serious offence."
Both defendants and victims in rape cases were granted anonymity in 1976 but the right was removed for the former in 1988.
In her review of rape and the criminal justice system published in March, Lady Stern refused to recommend any change on current anonymity rights until more research was carried out in to the scale of false allegations.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "This is a sensitive area and careful analysis of the options and implications will be undertaken.”
Yesterday's document also unveiled plans for a "fell review of sentencing policy" within the criminal justice system.
That could include examining proposals by the Liberal Democrats to scrap jail sentences of six months or less.


Rape support groups said it was an "insult" that would discourage victims from reporting attacks
I don't understand why this would be true.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby SlyReaper » Fri May 21, 2010 4:06 pm UTC

I don't understand how anyone could be opposed to this at all really. If the accused is innocent, no harm done. If not, he/she will be named. Again, no harm done (by this proposition). It protects the falsely accused, and has no effect at all on the accuser. The only way this would be a bad thing is if you actually intend to falsely accuse someone of rape specifically to ruin their reputation.

But I'm sure I've missed some nuance or other in which this revised system could be abused.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Robstickle » Fri May 21, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

Rape support groups said it was an "insult" that would discourage victims from reporting attacks


Rape support groups need to understand that false rape accusations can pretty much ruin your life and rapists will still be sent to prison. I don't claim to know what's goes through a rape victim's mind but I doubt a fear of being accused of faking the charge is why rapes don't get reported.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 21, 2010 4:24 pm UTC

All people who are accused should be given anonymity before they are convicted.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby sje46 » Fri May 21, 2010 4:29 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:All people who are accused should be given anonymity before they are convicted.

I've never even considered this problem before, but this article got me thinking. Why don't we do this? There has to be a good reason. Maybe not all accused, but those accused of a felony? But it would feel kinda odd to give anonymity to the guy whose house they found fifteen bodies underneath during a serial killing spree just because he hasn't been formally convicted yet.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Telchar » Fri May 21, 2010 4:31 pm UTC

Robstickle wrote: I don't know


Exactly.
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Robstickle » Fri May 21, 2010 4:33 pm UTC

So I take it you agree with the support groups then? If so why would this increase the likelihood of rape victims not reporting it?

sje46 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:All people who are accused should be given anonymity before they are convicted.

I've never even considered this problem before, but this article got me thinking. Why don't we do this? There has to be a good reason. Maybe not all accused, but those accused of a felony? But it would feel kinda odd to give anonymity to the guy whose house they found fifteen bodies underneath during a serial killing spree just because he hasn't been formally convicted yet.


Well in the case he should still have it until they're 100% sure, after all it could still be an elaborate frame job or something. Ridiculously unlikely? Yes but I don't see why it could hurt.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby sje46 » Fri May 21, 2010 4:37 pm UTC

Robstickle wrote:So I take it you agree with the support groups then? If so why would this increase the likelihood of rape victims not reporting it?

sje46 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:All people who are accused should be given anonymity before they are convicted.

I've never even considered this problem before, but this article got me thinking. Why don't we do this? There has to be a good reason. Maybe not all accused, but those accused of a felony? But it would feel kinda odd to give anonymity to the guy whose house they found fifteen bodies underneath during a serial killing spree just because he hasn't been formally convicted yet.


Well in the case he should still have it until they're 100% sure, after all it could still be an elaborate frame job or something. Ridiculously unlikely? Yes but I don't see why it could hurt.

Because the city is in fear of the serial killer that they haven't caught yet. The city is still paralyzed and all that. Anonymity means the media can't report that they caught a guy whose house they found 15 bodies under.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Telchar » Fri May 21, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

Robstickle wrote:So I take it you agree with the support groups then? If so why would this increase the likelihood of rape victims not reporting it?


I'm saying that when you make statements like...

I don't claim to know what's goes through a rape victim's mind but I doubt a fear of being accused of faking the charge is why rapes don't get reported.


...you lose all credability.
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Robstickle » Fri May 21, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

Ok I'm sorry that statement was downright ignorant and is one of those posts I'm sure I'll wish I could delete from memories of all form for some time now but I don't quite understand why the groups think this would increase that fear.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby sje46 » Fri May 21, 2010 4:54 pm UTC

Telchar, can you try, actually, contributing? Instead of saying "you're wrong"?

Anyway, I found this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/ ... defendants
Spoiler:
Anti-rape campaigners have reacted angrily to a proposal by the government to ban the identification of men accused of rape.

The group Women against Rape described it as "an insult", while Jill Saward, who was attacked during the Ealing vicarage rape, said it would "send a damaging message".

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition said today that it would extend anonymity in rape cases from victims to defendants. Although officials said details of the change had yet to be decided, it is likely the ban will be lifted once a suspect is convicted.

The controversial move restores the position of the 1970s when the Sexual Offences Act introduced anonymity for those accused of rape.

The ban on identifying defendants was lifted in 1988, following police claims that it was preventing women from coming forward to report rapes.

A return to the previous system would run contrary to the findings of a recent landmark report into rape and the criminal justice system, which recommended that independent research should first be done into the scale and nature of false rape allegations.

Ruth Hall, a spokeswoman for Women against Rape, said the proposal would stop women coming forward to report rapes by propagating the notion that many allegations are false.

"The people here all found it an insult to the women who are raped," she said. "With a 6.5% conviction rate for rape and so many women not getting justice, all they are putting forward is anonymity for the men who rape us.

"They should pay attention to the 94% of reported cases that do not end in conviction rather than the few that are false. It will just support the idea that women are making false allegations."

Hall said that, while false allegations were rare, they tended to attract a great deal of publicity. "Being falsely accused of rape is a terrible ordeal, but the same could be said of being falsely accused of murder or fraud," she said.

"We don't want to see men accused of rape getting special protection that people don't get for other crimes. Anonymity for men has already been tried, but then police said it hindered their investigations, because they could not put out calls for women who had been raped by the same man."

She added: "This is just another way to try to stop the tide of women reporting rape."

Saward, who has spoken out on tackling rape since being attacked in west London in 1986, said she completely opposed anonymity for defendants.

She said the changes would "send a damaging message" and may discourage victims from coming forward.

"In just a week or so, what we have heard from this coalition is that rape victims and victims of sexual violence do not matter," she said.

Paul Mendelle QC, a leading defence barrister and chair of the Criminal Bar Association, said it was difficult to know just how far the proposals would go, adding that a proper debate would be needed before any laws were passed.

"There's not much detail in the document," he said. "It just says they will extend anonymity to defendants in rape cases. How far will it extend? Will it be limited to rape? Or is it going to be as extensive as anonymity for victims of sexual offences, which applies to a very wide range of sexual offences, even to offences such as burglary with intent to rape and conspiracy to rape."

Mendelle also said that the reasoning for the proposed change remained unclear. "Acquitted defendants sometimes say: 'Why has the victim got anonymity and I haven't?' That may strike people as unfair. Is fairness the motivation?"

There was also, he added, the question of openness: "In general, trials should be open to public scrutiny, so that justice may not only be done but be seen to be done. Anonymous trials run counter to that principle.

"There would need to be a fully informed debate on the issue before any legislation was introduced."

In her review into the handling of rape cases, published in March, Lady Stern said there was little information about the number of false allegations.

She said some reports suggested as many as one in 10 reports of rape could be false, but police and solicitors said they encountered cases extremely rarely.

Stern said: "We make no recommendation on anonymity for defendants but note that it is often raised and the concerns will undoubtedly continue.

"A full examination of the issues would be helpful to the debate."

In 2003, the home affairs committee recommended that rape suspects be given anonymity until charged, something that in effect takes place now.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "This is a sensitive area and careful analysis of the options and implications will be undertaken."


I can understand the concerns, I guess. But I am skeptical. Would this law actually make it so that women are significantly less likely to report rape? After all, the women are anonymous as well, so it's not like the public at large will judge her unless she chooses to make it public herself (and with this law, she can't even do that). I just have my doubts about how strongly this will impact the power of the meme that women lie about rape, and how much that meme will affect the victims coming forward. What percentage of rape cases are the woman lying/mistaken? If it's 1%, these rape support-groups will probably say it's not justified to protect the anonymity. But at what point would false rape accusations become so common that they admit that it's probably better to protect the anonymity? There has to be some number. And I'm not saying that false allegations are on the rise, I'm just asking if we should consider how many innocent men's lives will be impacted, and how many women's lives will be impacted. Because, although it sucked to be a rape victim, it also sucks to be accused of being a rapist. They both ruin your life.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri May 21, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
Robstickle wrote:So I take it you agree with the support groups then? If so why would this increase the likelihood of rape victims not reporting it?

sje46 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:All people who are accused should be given anonymity before they are convicted.

I've never even considered this problem before, but this article got me thinking. Why don't we do this? There has to be a good reason. Maybe not all accused, but those accused of a felony? But it would feel kinda odd to give anonymity to the guy whose house they found fifteen bodies underneath during a serial killing spree just because he hasn't been formally convicted yet.


Well in the case he should still have it until they're 100% sure, after all it could still be an elaborate frame job or something. Ridiculously unlikely? Yes but I don't see why it could hurt.

Because the city is in fear of the serial killer that they haven't caught yet. The city is still paralyzed and all that. Anonymity means the media can't report that they caught a guy whose house they found 15 bodies under.


Well, come to think of it, they could sorta write:

Police arrested a man suspected of being the serial killer responsible for 22 deaths accross the greater Chabaugamau metropolitan area. Crime Scene Investigators reportedly found 15 bodies stashed under the front porch, five bloody axes, and 32 Tina Turner albums, possibly used to torture victims. The suspect is in custody and has been charged with multiple counts of first degree murder, and is awaiting trial.


tada! There's no need for a name or a face, except that this leads to more thrilling story telling and, thus, better sales for newspaper and higher ratings for Chabaugamau Nightly News Television.

The public naming of those arrested actually has to do with protecting the accused, not the public.

Under the ancient Common Law, the Crown (in America, the State) has no authority to simply "disappear" folk off the street. They must give a public account for who they have in custody and why, as a matter of public interest and protection, to make sure that the State isn't simply saying to itself "buddy's evil!" snatching him off the street and nobody ever knowing why. This way, one's family and friends know where you are, and can know the charges against you to help mount a defense and hold government accountable. That's what Habeas Corpus is all about: It means saying to the government "You have the body (Habeas corpus) of Bob Boberton. Why is that?" Its the oldest and most fundamental right in the English speaking world. Unless the United States Government accuses you of terrorism if and when Joe Leiberman gets his way with that looney law he's proposing to make Gitmo open to Americans. But this is the UK we're talking about for now.

Anyway, the point is that since this practice is not helpful, but in fact harmful, to the presumed-innocent accused in the case of rape, it really serves no purpose. That's why it would make sense to reverse this practice in cases of very-high stigma cases like rape.

EDIT: I should add that I don't know the stats, but I do know one man who was falsely accused of rape, and it really did nearly end his life. Litterally. It's no laughing matter and it does happen. Not just because of maliciousness or blackmail; in this case the woman had been abused as a child, and there were severe transference issues from that trauma. The real thing to worry about is to ensure protections for accusers, so that this protection for the accused does not become a shield for further harassment or intimidation, either real or precieved. But the comment that "those concerned with the falsely accused don't care about rape victims is wrong, it is evil, it is intentionally decietful and shows a tremendous lack of judgement and wisdom from that particular commentator.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Gelsamel » Fri May 21, 2010 5:08 pm UTC

If we're running on a system of innocent until proven guilty then I don't think it makes sense to violate the accused's privacy just because they might be guilty.

To be honest I'm not completely sure even guilty people should have their names published since even rehabilitated criminals that have been released can be haunted by their name being ruined. Though to be honest I have not thought about the subject much and I'm going to go to sleep now (3:20am).
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Jessica » Fri May 21, 2010 5:12 pm UTC

This is horrible. And as always the people who defend it don't understand why it's horrible.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Robstickle » Fri May 21, 2010 5:15 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:This is horrible. And as always the people who defend it don't understand why it's horrible.


Well why don't you explain it to us because all I've seen so far is knee-jerk reactions saying that this will reduce the percentages of rape being reported. None of them seem capable of explaining why exactly this would be the case.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Telchar » Fri May 21, 2010 5:18 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:Telchar, can you try, actually, contributing? Instead of saying "you're wrong"?


No. I expect people to have a basic degree of education on a topic before commenting on it, especially about such sensitive things as rape and rape victimization. I'm not going to rehash rape case legal statistics and victim psychology because a few people cbf to educate themselves.

As to the law itself, while I understand where they are coming from, I'm generally against any law that could increase the underreporting of rape. I understand that false accusations probably happen. I understand that a stigma is then attached and I sympathize. However, in a dichotomy between false accusations and rape victim reporting, I err on the side of the reporting.
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri May 21, 2010 5:25 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:
sje46 wrote:Telchar, can you try, actually, contributing? Instead of saying "you're wrong"?


No. I expect people to have a basic degree of education on a topic before commenting on it, especially about such sensitive things as rape and rape victimization. I'm not going to rehash rape case legal statistics and victim psychology because a few people cbf to educate themselves.

As to the law itself, while I understand where they are coming from, I'm generally against any law that could increase the underreporting of rape. I understand that false accusations probably happen. I understand that a stigma is then attached and I sympathize. However, in a dichotomy between false accusations and rape victim reporting, I err on the side of the reporting.


Yes yes yes, we're all greatly wowed that you have assiduously researcherd this topic. I think I likely speak for many when I point out that people can't read everything, and we all come from different background with different interests.

If you feel that sharing information that might bring people to get on board with measures that may help protect rape victims is a waste of your time, could you at least toss us lazy so and so's some links to where you've obtained your information? It may be rehashing to you, but to a lot of us, statistics demonstrating that anonymity for the accused reduces reporting is very much cutting-edge news.

Besides, this is a disscussion board, where I learn new things all the time. Probably the best things about it.

I mean, could you imagine if everyone discussed things this way? "I'm right because I know more than you and I'm not saying what that is." Kinda a conversation killer. Certainly not conducive to convincing people to back what you seem to claim in an important position for protecting some of the world's most vulnerable victims.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Robstickle » Fri May 21, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:
sje46 wrote:Telchar, can you try, actually, contributing? Instead of saying "you're wrong"?


No. I expect people to have a basic degree of education on a topic before commenting on it, especially about such sensitive things as rape and rape victimization. I'm not going to rehash rape case legal statistics and victim psychology because a few people cbf to educate themselves.

As to the law itself, while I understand where they are coming from, I'm generally against any law that could increase the underreporting of rape. I understand that false accusations probably happen. I understand that a stigma is then attached and I sympathize. However, in a dichotomy between false accusations and rape victim reporting, I err on the side of the reporting.


One person (me in case anyone skipped the last few posts) says something stupid about victim psychology and from that point on you decide a holier than thou attitude is the way forward? I'm googling but all I'm seeing is speculation from various people that this might reduce the report percentage. Where are the statistics?

I have read that the conviction rate on reported rates is only 6.5% (2007-2008 over here). Sorry if I'm about to type something ignorant again but this can't be very confidence inspiring in rape victims who would otherwise report it, I think the focus needs to be on lifting that number instead of being on the possible ramifications of a new policy designed to protect innocent defendants. I'm there probably is already a focus on that but well, well I hope you know what I'm trying to say because I'm not sure I do.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Malice » Fri May 21, 2010 5:46 pm UTC

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it's great for those who have been falsely accused. On the other hand, part of my brain can't help but go "But what if a real rapist gets out on bail and is able to go around raping people because they don't know he's been arrested?"

What we need is some sort of legal procedure to determine which accusations are false and which defendants are guilty. Perhaps argued by people called "lawmigators" and judged by a group of random citizens known as a "citigroup". Hm.

Joking aside, I can understand that this might reduce the report percentage, if an important reason for reporting for some people is "everyone will know the truth about him", but even then, you get what you want after a trial.

I wonder what would happen in celebrity cases. How would you keep that secret? Would the state prosecute those who revealed identities? Would that necessarily stop the media from doing it?
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Jessica » Fri May 21, 2010 5:48 pm UTC

Robstickle wrote:
Jessica wrote:This is horrible. And as always the people who defend it don't understand why it's horrible.
Well why don't you explain it to us because all I've seen so far is knee-jerk reactions saying that this will reduce the percentages of rape being reported. None of them seem capable of explaining why exactly this would be the case.


Rape case anonymity for defendants would be insult to victims, say activists wrote:The controversial move restores the position of the 1970s when the Sexual Offences Act introduced anonymity for those accused of rape.

The ban on identifying defendants was lifted in 1988, following police claims that it was preventing women from coming forward to report rapes.

A return to the previous system would run contrary to the findings of a recent landmark report into rape and the criminal justice system, which recommended that independent research should first be done into the scale and nature of false rape allegations.


Hall said that, while false allegations were rare, they tended to attract a great deal of publicity. "Being falsely accused of rape is a terrible ordeal, but the same could be said of being falsely accused of murder or fraud," she said.

"We don't want to see men accused of rape getting special protection that people don't get for other crimes. Anonymity for men has already been tried, but then police said it hindered their investigations, because they could not put out calls for women who had been raped by the same man."


There's also another link in that article Focus on rape conviction rates stopping women coming forward, warns Stern.

Essentially, these laws prevent the police from getting corroborating evidence (from other women who were raped but didn't come forward), they send a message that we'd rather make sure that men are safe from rape accusations (whether false or true), rather than making sure women are safe from rape, and they have been shown to be a problem in the past.

That's why it's bad. Yes. It's horrible to be accused of rape. It's horrible to be accused of fraud or Murder. But, it's also horrible to be raped. And providing protections for the accused sends the message that they're more important than the accuser. That those who are accusing are making false accusations, and that they're causing problems.

You're going to have a problem with lying. In all levels of crime. There are people who lie about murderers and burglars. But that doesn't mean we protect those who were accused. Protecting the accused in rape cases is saying that they're special, and need extra protection.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby sje46 » Fri May 21, 2010 5:53 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:This is horrible. And as always the people who defend it don't understand why it's horrible.

I understand the argument. Now all I need is the data to back it up. I won't accept something just because it sounds right. I won't accept something to err on the side of the rape victim if the other side involves victims as well. Is it still wrong to protect the anonymity of the rape accused if false accusations are as high as 50%? And if those who are accused of being raped are often beat up, harrassed, stolen from, disowned, fired, etc? Is all that worth it if only means a 1% increase in the amount of rapes reported? sure, my figures are greatly exaggerated. But who knows what the actual figures are? We need data.
Telchar wrote:
sje46 wrote:Telchar, can you try, actually, contributing? Instead of saying "you're wrong"?


No. I expect people to have a basic degree of education on a topic before commenting on it, especially about such sensitive things as rape and rape victimization. I'm not going to rehash rape case legal statistics and victim psychology because a few people cbf to educate themselves.

As to the law itself, while I understand where they are coming from, I'm generally against any law that could increase the underreporting of rape. I understand that false accusations probably happen. I understand that a stigma is then attached and I sympathize. However, in a dichotomy between false accusations and rape victim reporting, I err on the side of the reporting.
I am willing to educate myself. I am connected through my university to thousands of peer-reviewed journals, including those on sociology and psychology, and will read and even propagate any article I find that says that this law will do more bad than good. What are some articles I can read? Point them right at me. I'm a psychology major. I can understand these things.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Greyarcher » Fri May 21, 2010 5:58 pm UTC

@Leibniz
Interesting, I wasn't aware of that bit of legal history. Nabbing people off the streets and with a legal prohibition on reporting who was disappeared, eh? Hmmm, yeah I can see how defendant anonymity could be twisted into something problematic. Tch, if it wasn't important to safeguard against potentially corrupt future regimes, I might approve of defendant anonymity.
--In a way it feels outlandish to safeguard against such an old problem...but then I look at some of the atrocious regimes of the world, and decide that it's better to play it safe. (I'd be naively idealistic if I thought the people who get into power will always be decent folks even without appropriate checks against abuse.)

And as for why to not allow it just in the case of rape defendants...probably the slippery slope to granting general defendant anonymity. We even see a bit of it in this thread.

Will have to look over the bit about rape reporting in relation to defendant anonymity before I can factor that into my opinion. From a purely logical perspective I see no necessary relation between the two, but there may be some niche psychological knowledge that I'm missing on this matter.

EDIT: Sonuva--site almost ate my post.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Aetius » Fri May 21, 2010 6:01 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:"Being falsely accused of rape is a terrible ordeal, but the same could be said of being falsely accused of murder or fraud," she said.


Having been falsely accused of murder (or rather planning to commit it), I can honestly say I am so glad it wasn't a rape accusation.

That being said, I can see how this measure would impede police's ability to build a case by shutting off the "if you have any information on this suspect, please come forward" press conference avenue of gathering evidence. Whether the protection of the as yet un-convicted is worth it, I'm not sure.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Gelsamel » Fri May 21, 2010 6:03 pm UTC

How influenial is education, preparation, and support in increasing the frequency of reported rapes in comparison to publishing the accused's name?
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri May 21, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

Malice wrote:I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it's great for those who have been falsely accused. On the other hand, part of my brain can't help but go "But what if a real rapist gets out on bail and is able to go around raping people because they don't know he's been arrested?"

What we need is some sort of legal procedure to determine which accusations are false and which defendants are guilty. Perhaps argued by people called "lawmigators" and judged by a group of random citizens known as a "citigroup". Hm.

Joking aside, I can understand that this might reduce the report percentage, if an important reason for reporting for some people is "everyone will know the truth about him", but even then, you get what you want after a trial.

I wonder what would happen in celebrity cases. How would you keep that secret? Would the state prosecute those who revealed identities? Would that necessarily stop the media from doing it?


The media could be stopped by a publication ban.

Some quick stats I've been able to scrounge up:

The vast majority of rape prosecutions in the UK (well over 90%) end in aquittals.
The last semi-best guess is that 9% of rape reports are false reports, in the UK. In 1996, the FBI found 8% of rape charges to be unfounded (not including cases which were simply dropped or the woman refused to cooperate, for any reason.) This last dis-inclusion skews the stats in unpredictable ways, as so many cases simply go unreported. Depending on who's doing the study, apparently, the number can drop to as low as 2% (or, very improbably, rise to 50%. Not likely.)

Clearly, the whole system needs an overhaul. Since part of the problem with reporting seems to be the humiliation involved in the process, perhaps greater privacy all around may help more than hurt reporting chances.

Jessica wrote,
There's also another link in that article Focus on rape conviction rates stopping women coming forward, warns Stern.

Essentially, these laws prevent the police from getting corroborating evidence (from other women who were raped but didn't come forward), they send a message that we'd rather make sure that men are safe from rape accusations (whether false or true), rather than making sure women are safe from rape, and they have been shown to be a problem in the past.

That's why it's bad. Yes. It's horrible to be accused of rape. It's horrible to be accused of fraud or Murder. But, it's also horrible to be raped. And providing protections for the accused sends the message that they're more important than the accuser. That those who are accusing are making false accusations, and that they're causing problems.

You're going to have a problem with lying. In all levels of crime. There are people who lie about murderers and burglars. But that doesn't mean we protect those who were accused. Protecting the accused in rape cases is saying that they're special, and need extra protection.


A very wise point. Many, though not most, rapists are serial rapists with multiple victims. Corroborating testimony, sparked by the courage of one woman, can be vital in bringing a criminal to justice.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the over-streatched technical standards needed to obtain a conviction (technicalities and inflated evidentiary standards meant to protect, as you say, the falsely accused over the victims.) However, properly managed it is a decisive weapon to use against these creeps.

Not to mention that the public shaming is probably a greater deterrent to other would-be pyschos than the prospect of jail time.

Thank you for your post. You've made me entirely reevaluate this proposal. If only others could make the argument as clearly and persuasively as you have here, these would be happier boards.

*ahem* Telchar.

The message about "who we care about more," however, is a bad one.

We care about justice, and right and wrong categorically and absolutely. Treating different types of victims as competeing parties and interests is wrong, and ought to be assiduously avoided. Just because the law cares for the falsely accused does not mean they care for rape victims any less; it just means that we have broad responsibilities as a society and need to take all of them seriously, and can't abandon people simply because it offends an imaginary hierarchy.

EDIT: It occurs to me that this is doubly topical considering the scandal involving rape in the Roman Catholic Church. The Church had such a "veil of secrecy" to "protect the accused and accusers from shame".... and we know how that ended. It became a shield from behind which the guilty could conspire to protect themselves and propogate child abuse and rape on an international scale.

This approach was a disaster in the Catholic Church. And since there are more abusive coaches than priests, under the jurisdiction of the secular courts, this could be a greater child-abuse disaster in the making than the making Joseph Ratzinger Chief Inquisitor.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby JayAr » Fri May 21, 2010 6:10 pm UTC

Anyone have stats on guys being raped? Add some more depth to this rather than seemingly just focusing on one gender (which last time I thought that would be insulting to the minority groups with the situation of rape).
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Fri May 21, 2010 9:49 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:This is horrible. And as always the people who defend it don't understand why it's horrible.

No, it's a move towards being fair.

Q: Why is a rape victim any more worthy than a victim of a genuine false rape claim?

A: They aren't. They're both people, both suffering, and they both deserve the same justice and respect.

Justice means being fair to everyone equally, not deciding that we can twerk it a bit one way because it seems like a good idea.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Hawknc » Fri May 21, 2010 10:13 pm UTC

Does the UK provide anonymity for people accused of other serious crimes like murder or terrorism? I can see why there is a potential justification for this law (innocent until proven guilty and all that), but to single out rape alone seems odd.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Fri May 21, 2010 10:29 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:Does the UK provide anonymity for people accused of other serious crimes like murder or terrorism? I can see why there is a potential justification for this law (innocent until proven guilty and all that), but to single out rape alone seems odd.


I think it's because of the excessively severe stigma and coverage given to sexual crimes by the UK press (effective, tick; barbaric, also tick).
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Zauderer » Fri May 21, 2010 10:49 pm UTC

Innocent until proven guilty is a basic building block of rule of law, and publishing somebody's name just because he is accused (and not convicted) of some crime is the diametral opposite of this. And yes, I consider fair justice to be more important than publication of personal data about people accused of rape, even if it does indeed raise the number of reports or convictions. Just as I consider democracy more important than being able to stop that racist and homophobic party from winning seats in the parliament, or free speech more important than shutting that sexist dude up.

In all cases, the short-term effects will be very positive. But in the long term, you're just undermining the foundation of every free country.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Hawknc » Fri May 21, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

Why, then, aren't you picketing for the names of all suspects to be withheld until conviction, regardless of crime?

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby jakovasaur » Fri May 21, 2010 11:07 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:Why, then, aren't you picketing for the names of all suspects to be withheld until conviction, regardless of crime?

No crime, other than murder, holds anywhere near this kind of stigma. No one is ever tried for murder simply because someone else says so. There has to be a dead person, and at least some evidence. With rape cases, however, a woman can simply claim that she was raped and effectively doom an innocent person. That's why it's different.
Edit: Although, I wouldn't have a problem with all suspects' names being withheld. Rape cases are just more important.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Zauderer » Fri May 21, 2010 11:08 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:Why, then, aren't you picketing for the names of all suspects to be withheld until conviction, regardless of crime?


I am. (But you're right: I wasn't making this clear in my last post.)

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 21, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:Because the city is in fear of the serial killer that they haven't caught yet. The city is still paralyzed and all that. Anonymity means the media can't report that they caught a guy whose house they found 15 bodies under.


They can say "the police have arrested a suspect and are inditing him for these terrible murders"

One time I think it would be ok to release the name of someone accused but not convicted is if the person is on the run, and the police are appealing to the public for information to help catch him.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby Spambot5546 » Fri May 21, 2010 11:18 pm UTC

Well the only energy being expended even over this is internet outrage, so saying they're singling out rape isn't necessarily accurate. Most seem to feel the same way about every crime. I kind of like the idea of a defendant not being publically named far any crime, though i'm not sure how realistic that is. But if one were to single out sexual assault, it'd probably be because nothing ruins your reputation quicker. If you're acquitted of murdering someone you can go on to live a normal life. People tend to not forget rape accusations, however. Who has the worse reputation, OJ Simpsons, or R Kelly?

Personally, i'm more interested in the feasibility than the question of discouraging rape reporting. Innocence until proven guilty, both in the eyes of the law and of the public, are important parts of a free society. But so is transparent criminal proceedings*. People have a right to know of the way a trial is being conducted to know that the proceedings are in accordance with the law.


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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 21, 2010 11:36 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote: Who has the worse reputation, OJ Simpsons, or R Kelly?


OJ, by far.

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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby nyeguy » Sat May 22, 2010 4:18 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:A very wise point. Many, though not most, rapists are serial rapists with multiple victims. Corroborating testimony, sparked by the courage of one woman, can be vital in bringing a criminal to justice.

So how about this. Their file is kept in police records. On a reported rape, officers can look up the suspect in question, and contact those who have previously reported them. You still allow multiple victims to collaborate. But you don't make these records public, so no one knows who it is. Win win?
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby podbaydoor » Sat May 22, 2010 4:23 am UTC

Um, no, the idea is that women first hear that their attacker has been accused, then come forward with their stories. Not the other way around.
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby LuNatic » Sat May 22, 2010 4:52 am UTC

Jessica wrote:Essentially, these laws prevent the police from getting corroborating evidence (from other women who were raped but didn't come forward), they send a message that we'd rather make sure that men are safe from rape accusations (whether false or true), rather than making sure women are safe from rape, and they have been shown to be a problem in the past.

That's why it's bad. Yes. It's horrible to be accused of rape. It's horrible to be accused of fraud or Murder. But, it's also horrible to be raped. And providing protections for the accused sends the message that they're more important than the accuser. That those who are accusing are making false accusations, and that they're causing problems.


So you consider ruining X number of lives per year a fair trade off for this?

You're going to have a problem with lying. In all levels of crime. There are people who lie about murderers and burglars. But that doesn't mean we protect those who were accused. Protecting the accused in rape cases is saying that they're special, and need extra protection.


You have something of a point here, but as other have said, the stigma for a rape accusation is far far worse than any other crime on the books. Would you be okay with a law that provided anonymity to all defendants of criminal investigations?
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Re: Rape accused to be given anonymity in UK

Postby nyeguy » Sat May 22, 2010 5:02 am UTC

podbaydoor wrote:Um, no, the idea is that women first hear that their attacker has been accused, then come forward with their stories. Not the other way around.

And the likelihood of this happening by pure chance is?
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