Stern on rape: Review welcomed but 'blame culture' persists

Responding to today’s publication of a review by Baroness Stern into how rape is dealt with by the police in England and Wales, Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“We welcome Baroness Stern’s efforts to discover why we’re failing so many rape victims in this country and think some of her recommendations - especially on access to specialist support for victims throughout the process - can help make a real difference. We would also agree with her that better treatment of victims can also drive up the conviction rate.

“Baroness Stern is right to be concerned by how often sexual violence occurs after Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have consumed alcohol but this musn’t become an exercise in blaming the victim. As she herself said in a House of Lords debate last year, ‘It is not the alcohol that commits the rape’.

“Amnesty’s research shows that there’s a widespread tendency to blame Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for being raped - including if they’ve been drinking. This is frightening. We need to challenge the view that a woman is ever ‘responsible’ for being raped.”

Meanwhile Amnesty stressed that while reforms to the criminal justice system are vital, wider changes are still needed. Kate Allen added:

“Baroness Stern makes some very important points about procedure, evidence collection and performance targets, many of which reflect the demands and concerns of the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's sector.

“But we need to stop so many rapes being committed in the first place, not just deal with it afterwards. We need a government-led ‘integrated strategy’ - that focuses on how we construct masculinity and attitudes to Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights as well as supporting, resourcing and monitoring the performance of front-line public sector organisations dealing with violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

“And if we’re serious about tackling rape and violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights we can’t do it on the cheap. We need proper funding, particularly for the vital specialist Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's sector organisations that Baroness Stern rightly indicates are crucial not only to improving a victim's experience, but to driving up conviction rates.”

Find out about our campaign to Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights

View latest press releases