False Allegations of Sexual Violence: The Reality
This article explores comments suggesting that women ‘cry rape’. Such comments are often rooted in rape myths which may negatively influence criminal justice professionals and the decisions they make. Examples of online newspaper reports illustrate how the media portray those convicted of making false allegations. There is no legal definition of ‘false allegation’ and police and prosecutors use widely differing informal definitions that result in a significant variation in the percentage of allegations that are classified as false. A case where a vulnerable woman, the victim of domestic abuse, was prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when she withdrew a complaint of rape against her husband, resulted in new guidance for prosecutors reviewing cases of Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice and Wasting Police Time. The myth that women ‘cry rape’ is not supported by statistics, as illustrated by a recent review by the CPS.
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