Monday, 3 December 2007

Men believe they can get away with rape, claims Cameron

First time for everything! Never agreed with David Cameron before - but in fairness he is stating the obvious. We need to do something about these rape convictions, it affectively means that rape in Scotland is legal unless you totally step over the line - the godess only knows what the line is but 95% of reported rapes obviously don't make it!

Men believe they can get away with rape, claims Cameron
MEN in Britain believe they can get away with rape, David Cameron claimed yesterday as he accused the Labour government of presiding over a moral collapse in society.
The Conservative Party leader pledged extra help for victims and stronger punishments for rapists, calling for sex education to include emphasis on the need for consent.

While the figures he cited for England and Wales showed a conviction rate of just 5.1 per cent of all complainants, in Scotland it is 1 percentage point lower. The Scottish Government has already pledged a new Sexual Offences Bill to tackle the low conviction rate.
In a speech to the Conservative Women's Organisation in London, Mr Cameron called for a cultural change. "Studies have shown that as many as one in two young men believe there are some circumstances when it's OK to force a woman to have sex," he said. "To my mind, this is an example of moral collapse."
The Tory leader warned that society has become increasingly "sexualised" over the past decade, during which time treating women as sex objects has become viewed as "cool". He also called for compulsory sex education in schools to drive home the message that sex without consent is a criminal offence.
"And what about when the perpetrator is convicted?" he continued. "The average custodial sentence handed to rapists in England and Wales has fallen ... to around 80 months. Given all this, we have a situation where rapists think they can get away with it, while victims wonder what's the point of pursuing the criminal process."
Citing the case of Lindsay Armstrong, 16, who committed suicide after seeing her attacker convicted of rape in a trial at which she was asked to show the court the underwear she had been wearing at the time of the assault, Mr Cameron said more support was also vital.
The Labour Party hit back at criticism of the low conviction rates for rape. A spokesman pointed out that the Conservatives - including Mr Cameron and David Davis, the shadow home secretary - had voted against allowing police to take DNA samples from a person arrested for a recordable offence as part of the Criminal Justice Bill. Since the law came into force in 2004, 90 rapists had been convicted, the spokesman said.
Vernon Coaker, the Home Office minister, insisted the government was taking action, including providing new centres to provide medical care and counselling to victims, putting in place specialist police officers and prosecutors and trialling the use of "independent sexual violence advisers" in 38 areas.
Sally Ireland, senior legal officer at the campaign group Justice warned against engineering conviction rates upwards by making trials unfair.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said it was awaiting a report from the Scottish Law Commission before it published a final sexual offences bill. "No victim should be dissuaded from coming forward because they fear that the law is unclear or that their experience will not be taken seriously," he said.
SCOTLAND has one of the world's lowest conviction rates for rape, a statistic which has been repeatedly condemned by campaigners.
Out of 975 serious sex crimes reported to the police last year, only 38 - or one in 25 - culminated in guilty verdicts. This translates to a conviction rate of 3.9 per cent.
The all-time low compares with a 5 per cent conviction rate in 2005.
The number of reported rape cases has soared by 300 per cent over the past three decades. In 1997-98, there were 596 rapes reported, while in 2004-5 the number was 900.
Rapists are also almost ten times more likely to be found guilty in some parts of Scotland compared with others, according to figures released earlier this year.
Grampian had a conviction rate of less than 1 per cent, while at the other end of the scale the neighbouring Northern Constabulary area achieved 8.7 per cent.

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