Allegations of Sexual Abuse

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This page last updated Oct 30 2006

2006-1022 - The Scotsman (UK) - Rape statistics viewed through a glass bottom
by Dani Garavelli -
The trouble with engaging in a debate on rape is that it really is the last taboo - just as, until recently, any criticism of multiculturalism left you open to accusations of racism. So now, questioning whether or not women should exercise more self-control opens you up to accusations of misogyny. No-one presumes crime prevention officers who tell homeowners how to protect their property are condoning burglary. Yet any suggestion that women should make more effort to protect themselves is seen as tantamount to claiming that those who do not are asking for it.

Nor do we advance the cause of women by protecting the identity of those who make spurious allegations of rape against innocent men. If rape is a crime that provokes an unparalleled degree of revulsion from the public, then falsely and maliciously accusing someone of such a crime is a heinous act that should attract an appropriate punishment

2006-1021 - The Guardian (UK) - 'Rape victim' rounds on peer who named her as liar
by Diane Taylor -
A woman who was named in the House of Lords as "a serial and repeated liar" after a man found guilty of raping her had his conviction overturned says being outed in parliament was a setback for all victims of sexual assault. Lord Campbell-Savours used parliamentary privilege to name the woman during a debate on rape legislation. He suggested that women who make false allegations of rape should be named and prosecuted for perjury. …… The court ruled that Mr Blackwell's conviction was unsafe in the light of new evidence that the complainant had made "strikingly similar allegations" of other sex attacks and had the ability to lie

2006-1020 - The Times (UK) - Anonymous accusers who ruin lives
by David Brown -
WITH just one in twenty cases of rape leading to a conviction there have been growing demands for changes to the law to make it easier bring prosecutions. However, there have also been growing numbers of cases where men have had their rape convictions overturned and prosecutions of women who have made up allegations ............There have been growing calls for men accused of rape to be granted anonymity until they are convicted. The Liberal Democrats voted last month to grant anonymity to anyone accused of rape until conviction

2006-1020 - The Telegraph (UK) - If two people accuse you
"If two people accuse you, then you are guilty. They get compensation, you get jail" by Alasdair Palmer - Thanks to the steady erosion of the rules of evidence governing sexual offences, culminating in decisions by the Law Lords in 1991 and 1995, a defendant can face multiple allegations at the same trial. None of those allegations need have any corroboration; each, considered on its own merits, may be insufficient to suggest sexual abuse took place, but the effect of the Law Lords' rulings has been that together, multiple allegations are, in law, enough to prove not just that the abuse happened, but that the defendant was the perpetrator. How could England's most senior judges come to insist on a rule of evidence so transparently unreliable as that? It is a question to which only they know the answer. Their underlying assumption had to be that allegations of sexual abuse should be accepted as true, even if there is no evidence to support them. The result is that the burden of proof is on the accused to prove he is innocent, not on his accusers to prove his guilt

2006-1020 - The Times (UK) - Peer names 'serial liar' whose rape claims sent an innocent man to jail
by David Brown -
Lord Campbell-Savours used parliamentary privilege to name the woman during a debate in the House of Lords on rape legislation. He suggested that women who make false allegations of rape should be named and prosecuted for perjury

2006-1019 - Evening Standard (UK) - Sex attack liar named by peer
Lord Campbell-SavoursA woman with a long history of crying rape who sent an innocent man to jail was named in Parliament amid calls for a change in the law. Shannon Taylor was unmasked by a peer who told the House of Lords her lies had put father-of-two Warren Blackwell behind bars for more than three years. Lord Campbell-Savours used Parliamentary privilege to expose her identity and lambast the 'shabby' police investigation that saw Mr Blackwell imprisoned. Legal experts praised his decision to speak out to prevent other men falling victim to fake sex attack allegations.

Lord Campbell-Savours is calling for changes to the
law after exposing a 'serial liar' who alleged rape

2006-1019 - The Evening Standard (UK) - Four out of five rape victims 'have been drinking'

Baroness Scotland

by Joanne Waterman - Four out of five women who claim to have been rape victims had been drinking before they were attacked, a Home Office minister said. But Baroness Scotland said that, despite of this fact, rape is "never the fault" of the woman who suffers it. ……Earlier this year, a judge threw out a case in which the alleged victim was too drunk to remember what happened. Another trial collapsed when a student from Aberystwyth University admitted she had been so drunk she could not remember if she had refused or given consent for sex

2006-0724 - Radio NZ - Womens Centre says unreported sex attacks outnumber false
A women's centre in New Plymouth says false complaints of sex attacks are far outnumbered by women who are raped and abused but don't report it.
A woman has been charged with making a false complaint of sexual assault, a girl's been referred to youth aid and the police say three similar allegations in New Plymouth over the last fortnight lack credibility. They've warned that false complainants can be jailed for three months

2006-0724 - Radio NZ - New Plymouth police concerned at false sex complaints
The police are hoping publicity over some apparent false sex-attack claims in New Plymouth will not discourage women coming forward with genuine complaints. Mr Coward says women must understand that police have to test the truth of their accusations. The police have warned that women reporting ficticious sex attacks could face jail

2006-0724 - Radio NZ - Rape help agencies worried by by police warning on false complaints
Agencies dealing with rape and sexual abuse in New Plymouth are worried a police warning about false complaints may discourage real victims from coming forward……But the police say complainants need to know their claims will be tested. They've warned that false complainants can be jailed for three months. A counsellor and former manager of the Taranaki Safer Centre, Lorraine Jans, says that may increase the distrust of police felt by many genuine victims

2006-0724 - Daily News - NP police bogged down by number of fake rape complaints
A spate of false rape complaints over the last two weeks is worrying New Plymouth police. But women who have genuine complaints of sexual assault are urged to come forward, says CIB chief Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward. ..... "We do not want to stop victims making legitimate complaints, but they have to realise their account will be thoroughly investigated," he said. Mr Coward says New Plymouth police have a highly experienced sexual abuse investigation team, which is always prepared to investigate a complaint.

2006-0609 - The Press - Rape figures realistic
by Chris Hooker -
Darryl Ward (June 3) takes issue with the claim in The Press that "support groups estimate that only one in 10 rapes is notified, and only a fraction go to court" (May 27). I am a school counsellor and my experience with many young women over many years suggests that these figures are pretty realistic.

2006-0603 - The Press - Rape complaints
by Yvonne Martin - 
Our reporting has found that female rape victims are avoiding or dropping out of the criminal-justice system at phenomenally high rates. We received dozens of emails and phone calls, particularly from people concerned about injustices within the court process.

2006-0603 - The Press - Her word against his
by Yvonne Martin -
When a woman reports a rape, it is only the start of a gruelling process. In the second of a two-part series, Yvonne Martin looks at what it is like for women whose cases make it to court……… With DNA advances making it harder for men accused of rape to argue "not me", many are turning to the defence of having reasonable belief in consent. In the absence of witnesses and physical evidence, a trial run on such grounds can become a contest of credibility: her word against his.

2006-0602 - The Press - Falsely Accused
by Paula Weir -
An interesting article on rape on the front page of the Weekend Press last Saturday. However, given the fact that once again the crime of false allegations was not given space to counter what seemed like more hysteria the objective of the articles may not be achieved……..Sympathy for rape victims has not been helped by the failure of people like Jan Jordan and Dr Kim McGregor to acknowledge the equally serious crime of false allegations and the destruction they can cause to peoples lives

2006-0602 - The Press - Suffering in silence
by Kim McGregor -
Wide-ranging changes are needed to public and professional attitudes to rape if the problems confronted by sexual abuse victims are to be countered. Unless we all understand some of the complexities and dynamics of sexual abuse and some of the reasons survivors do not report sexual assault, we are unlikely to have much of a chance of changing this situation.

2006-0527 - The Press - The rape crisis
by Yvonne Martin -
The Louise Nicholas case showed us the anguish that rape complainants go through on the tortuous path through court……
Some positive changes have been made to rape laws since the Christchurch woman's case was tried in 1976, and police are trying to improve their handling of sexual-assault complaints. But is the current law working for everyone or just for some? Have the scales of justice tipped too far towards protecting the rights of the accused?  Is it time for a fresh look at how complaints are dealt with, from the initial reporting to sentencing options for perpetrators? Judging by the issues and discontent our reporting has found with the system, a review is long overdue

2006-0527 - The Press - Possible solutions to how rape cases are tried
Victim-support workers and lawyers are calling for a taskforce to look at alternatives for how sexual assaults are tried. Options include: an inquisitorial system; Specialist courts; A restorative-justice system; Introducing a positive standard for sexual consent;

2006-0527 - The Press - Court journey full of trauma for rape victim
Even with the extra protections for complainants now enshrined in law, the woman [rape victim] still feels the scales of justice tilt towards the defendant. "There needs to be more sensitivity towards the complainant's needs. She has to survive this."

2006-0502 - peterellis.org.nz - Rape Crisis needs to acknowledge serious problem of false allegations
Stopping rape is a commendable and worthy aim. Rape Crisis; however, need to urgently acknowledge the serious epidemic of false allegations of sexual crimes if they wish to maintain credibility……Rape Crisis' one-eyed view on justice has been exposed by their participation in the recent "We Support Louise Nicholas" march. Nicholas has previously admitted making a false rape claim. A recent trial involving Nicholas properly came to a "Not Guilty" verdict based on the clear evidence that what she claimed was "rape" was in reality consensual sex

2006-0501 - peterellis.org.nz - Appalled by attitude of Kim McGregor
by Paula Weir -
False accusations of rape do occur and more prevalently than we are led to believe. Men facing such allegations often lose their homes, reputations and careers, and their families are subjected to harsh and prejudicial treatment. Alibis in such cases are not being adequately investigated by police who are choosing to prosecute regardless of any factual evidence in the interests of keeping themselves in favour with organisations like Rape Crisis. Historical charges which are becoming frequent are tried on a he said she said basis and men accused are assumed guilty until proven otherwise

2006-0501 - One News - Calls to improve rape trial system
Advocates for victims of sexual crime want the government to set up a taskforce to review how the legal system treats victims. The call follows a march on Sunday through central Auckland to mark Rape Awareness Week. Auckland Rape Crisis director Dr Kim McGregor says a proposal is being drawn up on improving the legal system in relation to sex crimes

2006-0501 - NZ Herald - Marchers demand rape trial changes
Hundreds of Louise Nicholas supporters marched down Queen St yesterday demanding justice for victims of rape. Dr McGregor said a specialised task force had been set up involving Rape Crisis, Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation and lawyers to prepare a proposal for Government on how sexual crimes are tried in New Zealand courts

2006-0501 - Newstalk ZB - Changes to rape trial laws wanted
Changing the laws surrounding rape trials will be the focus of this year's Rape Awareness week. In launching its campaign today, Rape Crisis and Auckland Sexual Abuse Help want to make the judicial system more tolerable for victims of rape. Rape Crisis spokeswoman Kim McGregor says the whole system needs an overhaul

2006-0322 - NZ Doctor - Boundary lessons for the learning
by Ron Paterson -
False accusations? Some doctors, particularly male doctors, worry about being the subject of spurious claims of a sexual nature. Once again, practical steps, such as the presence of a "chaperone" (eg, a practice nurse), ensuring appropriate disrobing facilities and clear communication are all useful ways for maintaining safety for patients and doctors. Doctors who act professionally have little to fear from false complaints. Vexatious complaints are very rare

2006-0225 - NZ Herald - Perjury penalties 'too soft'
More prosecutions and tougher penalties for perjury would help reduce the incidence of miscarriages of justice, a seminar at Auckland University was told yesterday. On many occasions the judiciary did not take perjury, or evidence tampering seriously enough, associate sociology professor Greg Newbold told a seminar organised by the Legal Research Foundation to discuss a report by retired High Court judge Sir Thomas Thorp.

2006-0222 - The Press - False rape common
by Brian Robinson -
First, false rape complaints are common. Recent 2005 news reports state that "last year 290 people nationwide were charged with making a false complaint" and that "senior (police) investigators estimate that between 60% and 80% of rape complaints made by women are false". Second, there is no media barrage about these cases. In 2005, only 10% of the 290 cases were reported in the media, and few of these were reported nationwide

2006-0218 - The Press - Wrong impression
by Ricky Prebble -
Rape and sexual abuse is a crime overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women. I would be interested in reading an article about the effects of rape and sexual abuse on women's lives, and the prevalence of sexual violence in our community. This would be refreshing after the constant media barrage about the uncommon occurrence of false rape complaints

2006-0204 - The Press - Impact of false rape complaints
by Jonathon Harper -
The phenomenon of false rape complaints is proving a fraught one…..
Yet what happens if the allegation is false? There are many cases on record where women have made false rape allegations. It is a minefield, for police, complainants, the accused and the various support agencies working with rape victims. Tony Greig is a Christchurch barrister and was a police officer for 17 years. He recalls, "It was not unusual for the CIB squad that took over on a Monday morning to be met with three rape allegations from the weekend. It was not unusual to have one or two of them withdrawn within days, after being shown to be demonstrably false." University of Canterbury criminologist Greg Newbold refers to the Ministerial Rape Report of 1983 (used as a basis for later legislative changes) which suggests about 30 per cent of rape allegations prove to be false. But Jan Jordan, a senior lecturer in criminology at Victoria University, points to several overseas research studies that indicate a false complaint rate of about 5%.

2006-0130 - Newstalk ZB - Mark wants tougher penalties for false complaints
New Zealand First hopes a review of the police complaints system will result in a crack down on people who make false complaints. Police have confirmed they are carrying out a project aimed at enhancing professionalism. The party's police spokesman Ron Mark says the review must meet the needs of people who fell they have been wronged, but he says it must also protect innocent police officers. He says it is unacceptable when complaints are found to be false after some officers' lives are put on hold for nearly two years while a complaint is investigated.