UK Home Office Lied about Sex Trafficking; Rape Too!

As I wrote in a recent piece, British government documents reveal that the problem of human trafficking for prostitution, long described by the Home Office and media outlets as a problem engulfing as many as 18,000 women and girls in the UK, turns out to be almost non-existent. One of the largest law enforcement operations in the history of the country netted a grand total of zero people who had compelled anyone into the sex trade. In the combined populations of Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a total of five people were found to have actually coerced someone into prostitution. An article in The Guardian revealed that government officials had long misrepresented and outright lied about the scope of human sex trafficking.

Now it turns out they’ve done the same thing about rape. Read about it here. The article is based partly on the reporting of Ruth Alexander of the radio program More or Less. It’s written by Robert Whiston who has served on various committees of the Home Office, the Lord Chancellor’s Department and the Ministry of Justice.

For years the Home Office and the former Lord Chancellor’s Department have misled the media about rape statistics – and allowed the media to misinform the public.

Anxiety has grown as a result of the apparent increase in rape offences and the inability to successfully prosecute offenders. Women have been needlessly alarmed for their safety, when the actual threat is much smaller than has been pretended.

This official misinformation, one suspects, was a deliberate policy choice (beginning somewhere around 1988) to ensure that no matter what the cost, rape and sex crimes would climb remorselessly up the political agenda.

The article deals extensively with the claim by the Home Office and parroted by the news media, that only about 10% of rapes result in convictions. The problem with the claim is that, as in this country, it ignores the problem of false allegations. These turn out to be anywhere from 14% to 42%.

What the Home Office reports as the non-conviction rate of 10% is actually the “attrition” rate. That’s the percentage of all rape allegations that result in convictions. When the false and unproveable allegations are removed from the total, the conviction rate is about 50%. False allegations are those in which “the complainant retracts completely and admits fabrication.” (That’s essentially the same definition that was used by the police department in Dr. Eugene Kanin’s study.)

The author of the article notes that rape allegations have spiked since about 1985. In that year, the Metropolitan Police reported a little more than 1,000 rape claims. By 2002, the number was close to 10,000. These figures are reported uncritically by the Home Office and media outlets as rapes, but what really seems to be increasing is what the article calls the “Credibility Gap” between allegations and actual convictions.

Whiston points out that the nature of rape trials has only made convictions easier given that there is no longer a requirement of corroborating evidence. So the “Credibility Gap” should have narrowed, but in fact it’s grown markedly. His strong suggestion and that of a couple of Home Office reports is that there’s been an increase in false claims.

And that, Whiston suggests, has at least something to do with the fact that the government pays compensation to the complainant. He says that when New Zealand stopped paying compensation to rape claimants, the number of claims dropped and when compensation was reinstituted, allegations rose accordingly.

The article makes for interesting reading, and don’t forget to read his answers to the comments he’s received.

source: http://mensnewsdaily.com/glennsacks/2009/10/27/uk-home-office-lied-about-sex-trafficking-rape-too/

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Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 6:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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