Friday, 17 September 2010

Coalition continues not taking rape seriously

[trigger warning]

The government has shelved a study into police handling of rape cases, to "save money". The total expected cost of the study was £441,000.

Meanwhile, Essex Police have been strongly reprimanded by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for, essentially, doing absolutely everything wrong when investigating a rape case. In summary: a woman reported twice - several months apart - that someone had broken into her house and raped her. On both occasions, the police reported that "no offence had occurred", without checking for actual evidence, because they were sexist ablist bigots (or as the IPCC puts it were "adversely influenced by the woman's mental health history"). When the suspect was finally arrested he admitted to the crime.

But I'm sure there's no need for an actual investigation into police handling of rape cases and consequent steps to get them to consistently do it properly. Baroness Stern's report pointed out that actually following the existing guidance would be a very good start, of course, but I doubt that £441,000 - a tiny amount in the context of government spending - will be going towards that either.

Meanwhile, the report the government was promising on "why anonymity for suspects is a good idea" has been delayed yet again, until October. This is hardly surprising, of course, given the lack of evidence there actually is for this claim, and the fact that - when I asked in August - the ministry had no evidence at all regarding the number of suspects their current proposal would affect or the likely effect on media reporting their proposals would have.

It was fairly clear right from the start that they didn't actually have any evidence backing up their proposal, but it's always useful to have more official confirmation of this.