Rape cases : MSP says new legislation must be matched by action on attitudes and behaviour towards women's rights

28 July 2009

Marlyn Glen is asking Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill how many of the 54 cases of rape made known to Tayside police in 2008-09, have been proceeded against in court and how many have been proved.

Ms. Glen said that the number of cases of rape reported to the police in the past 10 years in Tayside was 589.

Only 48 were proceeded against in court, and only 20 resulted in a conviction.

In the last two years 2006-2008, there were a total of 113 cases of rape reported to the police in Tayside, only 3 of which resulted in prosecution, and none of which was proved.

Ms. Glen said, " It is these low rates of prosecutions that are leading to calls for marked changes in the way that rapes are handled by the police and the courts in Scotland.

Ms Glen said,

" Last month, the Scottish Parliament published the new Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill which will now provide a statutory definition of rape and consent.

" A new legal definition will be very important and is to be wholeheartedly welcomed.

"However it must be accompanied by a greater obligation to change the sexist attitudes and behaviour of some men in Scotland towards women’s rights such as respect, equality, and protection from the myths about women’s sexuality.

" The female victim is not responsible for this horrifying crime."

The figure of the number of people proceeded against is much lower than the number of cases reported to the police because it deals only with cases where the main charge was rape.

It does not include convictions for rape where the main charge was murder or each conviction for rape where a person was convicted of more than one rape.

The cases which did not result in conviction include cases in which :

no report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal

there was insufficient evidence in law to prosecute

there was sufficient evidence to prosecute a crime other than rape


However, even when all that is considered, in the past ten years overall in Tayside less than half of cases where rape was the main charge resulted in a conviction.

Ms. Glen is also asking Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill how many Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal staff in Tayside have now trained to specialise in the investigation and prosecution of rape and sexual offences.

"It was the Scottish Government’s intention that all such investigations were to be undertaken by specialists by this summer.

"Victims can face traumatic barriers to living through the experience again in court," she said.

Ms. Glen is supporting the Rape Crisis Centre campaign "This is Not An Invitation to Rape Me".

Link : http://www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk



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