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Is government right to drop rape anonymity pledge?

11:28 UK time, Monday, 26 July 2010

Plans to grant pre-charge anonymity to men accused of rape have been dropped after protests from MPs on all sides. Is this the right decision?

The coalition government originally planned to grant pre and post-charge anonymity but has now dropped the plan altogether. Labour and women Tory MPs said it could send a negative signal about women who accuse men of rape.

The government will, however, put pressure on media outlets through the Press Complaints Commission not to name suspects.

Should men accused of rape be anonymous? Would anonymity send a negative signal about women who accuse men of rape? Is the coalition government right to drop the plan?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    The reason we give anonimity to women is because of the stigma attached to a victim.

    Is it then not right to grant the same anonimity to an accused person, who in the eyes of the law is still regarded as innocent?

    If someone is found guilty of the charge of rape then, and only then, publish their name.

    At present the system is a charter for any maliciously minded women to ruin the life of any man with whom she has a grievance.

  • Comment number 2.

    "Should men accused of rape be anonymous?"
    Before and during the trial, yes. If convicted, no.

  • Comment number 3.

    In that case, women who bring false claims of rape should lose anonymity.

    More than virtually any other crime, a claim of rape which later turns out to be false can still ruins someone's life forever.

  • Comment number 4.

    Usually the modern right-wing trend for white men seeking victimhood in every facet of society annoys the hell out of me.

    Just this once though i can't see why men accused of sex crimes should not have the same anonimity as their accusers until such time as they are convicted.

    I just don't see why such anonimity should deter accusers - the men will still be subject to exactly the same court processes, if convicted they'll get the same sentences - where's the problem.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think the first couple of commenters on this thread have summed it up completely.

    What is the reason/purpose of naming an, as yet, innocent man? Unless of course you are in the 'no smoke without fire' camp, but that's not much of a legal arguement.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is confusing? We have children - male and female.

    If the crime of rape were experienced by either of them - then DNA would be collected for the same purpose of identifying the rapist and perhaps matching that DNA to others on file already?

    If that DNA of the rapist was not on file, then that DNA will be held.

    If there was no DNA available on the victim - then the accused should remain anonymous - but monitored by police?

    Why should the Justice System differentiate between female and male rape victims. Indeed, why should any gender accused of rape, be treated differently and not offered anonymity until the case is proven?

  • Comment number 7.

    I see the good old sex equality laws are working correctly then, as always its one way traffic

  • Comment number 8.

    Before the trial they should be anonymous, yes. The individual is accused, not convicted at that time.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think there should be anonymity until proven guilty for any crime. That is critical in a society where the media will conduct its own trial without any real respect for the due process of the law.

  • Comment number 10.

    Only a few months in to the new government and the erosion of our human rights continues....

    Anyone accused of a crime should be anonymous until they are charged. So much damage is done to people who are named and then found innocent. By then the damage is already done.

    I am against this change. Men accused of rape are innocent until proven guilty. The victims should remain anonymous too until the case is over.

    Yet another example of Cameron and Clegg living in cloud cuckoo land - they actually believe the media will not name the suspects with no law in place to make them refrain from doing so. If this wasn't such an important issue it would be funny. These men are blundering clowns. How can they run our country ? Children have more common sense.

  • Comment number 11.

    I completely agree with comments 2 and 3. Spot on.

  • Comment number 12.

    The UK legal system has, at it's core, the supposition of innocence until proved guilty. In a subject as emotive as rape, or the accusation of rape, there would seem to me to be a need to protect BOTH parties until such time as proper process can ascertain the proven facts of the case. On one level, I find it astonishing that this debate is taking place. Surely if the subject is accepted to be so emotive that the alleged victim requires protection of anonymity, this should extend also to the alleged attacker.

    In the event that the accused is found guilty, I agree wholeheartedly with previous posters, it would seem clear there should be no right to continued anonymity of the attacker.

    It would seem a far more complex issue, but one perhaps worth consideration, what happens in the reverse case. If the defendant is found not guilty, should the accuser have any continued right to anonymity? As another poster has pointed out, there may be cases of malicious accusation. Would this act as a deterrent on those cases? What safeguards would have to be put in place, such as dealing with not proven outcomes?

  • Comment number 13.

    I am MUCH more concerned about the ethics of electing a government which includes pledges in its manifesto and then just drops them.
    What is the point of any election manifesto if it is full of lies?
    Every day, I become more concerned about the legitimacy of this 'coalition'.

  • Comment number 14.

    Rape ruins lives. I'm sure that no woman who has been through that ordeal would disagree.

    However, and not to equate the two... a false accusation of rape ruins the lives of men too. Livelihoods and families have been lost because a misguided (or sometimes malicious) woman has decided to point the finger.

    There will always be a large number of people who will use the adage of "no smoke without fire", and that person will be permanently tarred.

    It is absolutely right that a woman should be able to make a complaint. However since there are a number of cases that are based upon false testimony and claims, the protection should be given to someone who is, after all, innocent until proven guilty.

    A woman who makes a false claim will have her name protected until such times as she is convicted of making a false claim... the man is never afforded that decency.

    As for the man who is found guilty.... Then yes, I completely agree that they should get everything that is coming to them. They are after all despicable works of mankind.

  • Comment number 15.

    The main issue here is the balance between the rights of an actual victim of rape and the rights of a falsing accused rapist.

    According to Feminist groups (disturbing reading for a gent) false accusations account for 2% of all cases whereas Mens' rights groups claim it is around 41%. Any rational person not party to such sites would probably say it is somewhere in inbetween.

    Irrespective, I feel cases such as Bernadett Kore should have wider publicity as she was jailed for 18 months for false alegation of rape. The details of the case are so ridiculous it amazes it got to trial in any event. The whole episode was fabricated for no other reason than to 'get rid' of her husband with whom she was a bit bored with.

    Of course, the real women to suffer are the actual genuine rape victims that are ashamed or perhaps do not choose to bring charges forward, suffering in silence.

    Women like Bernadette Kore do not help the real sufferers, and if found guilty of false accusations these cases should have wider publicity in as much as to not make a mockery of a very serious subject.

  • Comment number 16.

    This is yet an other example of where some are more equal than others. Both the accuser and the accused are innocent until a Jury has returned a verdict.
    There are hundreds and hundreds of cases where the accused is found not guilty but has their life ruined due to the stigma attached to being accused.
    Both parties should be treated equally.

  • Comment number 17.

    Despicable cowardice from the coalition here.

    ruffled_feathers has it exactly right. False allegations can ruin lives; the best way of avoiding stigma is to keep all participants in the case anonymous until the verdict has been reached.

    And if that verdict is "guilty", that's the time to name the criminal.

  • Comment number 18.

    No, the government is wrong, although anonymity should not just apply to those accused of rape. Every alleged victim and defendent should be allowed to exercise their right to privacy until the end of a court case.

    Nobody should have to suffer rape; likewise nobody accused of rape (or any other crime for that matter) should have to suffer the consequences of being associated with that crime if they're innocent. Mud sticks, regardless of innocence of guilt, and that's a fact.

    I cannot imagine having to recover from rape. Likewise I cannot imagine having to recover from an accusation of rape: my job, my marriage and my friends may all be lost in the turmoil and I'd forever be looking over my shoulder for some midguided vigilante who thinks "there's no smoke without fire".

    The mistake the government made was limiting the idea of anonymity to allegations of rape. It should really be applied to all crime with either party at liberty to waive their own anonymity if they wish, otherwise the person who loses the case is the only one who must be named.

    If anyone believes there's no stigma in having ones name publicly revealed or that mud doesn't stick, ask yourselves why we don't reveal the names of alleged rape victims? The same courtesy should be applied to all parties in a court case until the jury or JP has deliberated.

  • Comment number 19.

    With the staggeringly low conviction rates (something ridiculous like 6%), rape victims need all the support they can get.
    Singling them out for defendant anonymity sends a terrible message to victims.

  • Comment number 20.

    This is the right decision.

    Since anonymity is not offered to those accused of other crimes, there is no reason to do so for rape. Being falsely accused of rape carries no more stigma than being accused of any other serious crime, nor is there any evidence of a high rate of false accusations. Indeed, those accused of other sex crimes such as paedophillia were not being offered anonymity under these proposals.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why do Harriet Harperson and her sisterhood always advocate wanting to increase the conviction rate of alleged rapists?
    Since when should there be a target for guilty verdicts? What happened to trial by jury? How conveniently the sisterhood forget the litany of false vexatious claims of rape by women as a grudge against totally innocent men, the latter then become tarred and scarred for life while the women retain anonymity.

    Dont get me wrong. Actual rapists need to be prosecuted and if possible convicted but differentiating between consensual sex and rape in the absence of evidence other than the conflicting word of the participants cannot be easy and guilty verdicts are supposed to be beyond reasonable doubt.

    It cannot be right to grant anonymity to the woman but not the alleged male perpetrator. Either both or neither should be anonymous, granted that genuine other victims should be encouraged to come forward.

    But then the sisterhood are not interested in fairness. As it said on the poster of a feminist friend "Women who want to be equal lack imagination"

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    This is a very serious subject that is difficult to find a solution. There are number of cases where rape is clear cut, but those cases of having sex with a women (or man) and then accusing you of rape after completely ruins a person’s life even if they are guilty or not. The only solution I see is for two people to sign a consent form, when they are sober and fully coherent, before having sex which seems rather unpractical.

  • Comment number 24.

    Anonymity should be given to both parties in a rape trial. To be biased is to deny the victim or accused of true justice.

    In cases of false rape allegations the accused perpetrator is in fact the victim & invariably is vilified before & after the facts are known causing untold harm to themselves & families.

    The law should be a fair field with the same rights given to both parties before during & after the case.

    Only if someone is found guilty of the crime should their details be released.

  • Comment number 25.

    The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.
    This is simply not the case. Having worked with many rape victims, the 6% conviction rate is very low due to lack of evidence, not due to 94% of women lying.

  • Comment number 26.

    How could annonymity deter victims from making a report? The logical conclusion from that is that rape victims only report the crime when they know the attacker... Which, of course, they obviously don't...

    The question is posed: why should the accused of this particular crime be anonymous? The reason is that sex crimes are viewed with particular revulsion and the consequences to the accused often significantly worse, from the point of view of society's response. Rightly or wrongly, someone convicted of a straight forward murder (of a healthy adult), can more readily serve their sentence and then resume life. They might not be popular but the public are usually unlikely to seek to make their life a misery. Again rightly or wrongly, those guilty of sex crimes are often hounded by the public and subject to hate. That response should only apply to those found guilty of such terrible crimes. Revealing the details of someone who may very well be innocent, is wrong and exposes them to society's particular hatred. It is wrong that the accused in rape cases, and other sex crimes, is identified before conviction. No, I'm not sympathetic to those actually found guilty (I'm the father of a rape victim) and think punishment should actually be harsher - although still civilised. Too many commit "lesser" crimes and are released to reoffend.

    No, the government are not right to drop the plan. Whatever they state is their plan before election, they should go ahead and implement. The statement that it isn't a U tuen because they didn't actually intend to do it means, quite simply, that they lied. That, slash and burn coalition members, is what it is called when you say something you don't actually mean!

  • Comment number 27.

    No, it isn't right! Speaking as someone who was wrongly accused of sexual harassment by a woman, who did it to try and get me fired from work (she failed!), this is a step backwards. The stigma attached to an accusation like this doesn't go away very easily, even when there has been absolutely no wrong doing by the man whatsoever. This sort of mud sticks very easily and if the woman has the right to anonymity in rape cases then the man MUST have too.
    What about the effect of a wrongful accusation? It's not nice everyone thinking you could be a sex offender when you've done absolutely nothing wrong. People have a tendency to think "there's no smoke without fire", so what chance do you have of keeping your reputation if you're wrongly accused of a crime like this?

    This is a bad day for men!

  • Comment number 28.

    So its okay for women to falsely scream rape. The only penalty they get is a slap on the hand. Whilst innocent men, their familes and children are all ruined by these women.

    Our justice system is supposed to be about balance and fairness. This decision is unfair and unbalanced favouring the accuser vs the accused.

    Why are men treated guilty as charged before they have had a chance to defend themselves.

    Why are women being treated as special cases ?

  • Comment number 29.

    Too often false rape alleagation are made either as a means for revenge against a partner, to get compensation, or to cover a perfectly normal sexual encounter (one night stand) that they later regret. And so the false accuser will continue to have the right to annonymity whilst the accused does and the number of false allegations will continue to rise.
    This government must be in cloud cuckoo land if they think that the press will go along with a code. Even if there are fines etc once a name is in the open the damage is done.

  • Comment number 30.

    Both parties should remain anonymous until the case has been decided, only then should names be made public, being falsely accused of rape can destroy a life and it is grossly unfair that there is such a double standard in place.

  • Comment number 31.

    There is no reason why the crime of rape should be singled out in this. All accused of any crime should have anonimity until proven guilty because false accusations (of any crime) can damage lives.

    But singling rape out like this suggests women are malicious liars - a horifically damaging sterotype that has plagued rape trials through history.

    The conviction rate is already so low, as is the estimated reporting of rape. This is a major problem and women who are raped must not be, or feel like they are, assumed liars from day one. This will only lead to lower sentences and fewer reporting a rape to the police. This is a dangerous world for our daughters and granddaughters to grow up in.

    Anonimity for all crimes until proven guilty.

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't know what proportion of men accused of rape by women are found guilty.

    If its 90% then I might well agree with a policy of anonymity for victims and none for those charged.

    If its 50% then I might consider that anonymity for both parties is justified.

    If its 10% then I'd think there would be a good case for naming the women and giving the men anonymity.

    Its also an issue that should be taken on the basis of what the goverment think is just, not on a party basis. "This is what we believe, and we're going to drive it through regardless" should be a welcome concept when applied by honest, well-meaning people.

  • Comment number 33.

    Why should an accused have their name slandered - can't people at least wait until they are proven guilty? This is classic politics - talk tough on crime without caring about 'collateral' damage just to win votes from the lynch mobs. Will the government ever learn? I doubt it! Democracy is lynch-mod rule de facto.

  • Comment number 34.

    I also agree with the first two comments. If we are going to start publishing the accused names before the trial would this also include the names of children who have raped? Like it or not, everyone is innocent until proven innocent.

  • Comment number 35.

    No. And I'd go further - why is it that anyone accused, but not charged, should not be given anonymity? Then, if someone is found innocent, the sensationalist press should be forced to give exactly the same coverage of the person's innocence that they gave to their accusation - whether headlines, front page, column inches, photos, or anything else.

  • Comment number 36.

    I fail to see why anonimity for the accused would in any way deter women from reporting this awful crime. Why are people suggesting it will?
    It seems to me that any man can be accused, arrested, DNA screened and splashed across all the papers and TV news without a single shred of evidence to support the allegations and this is somehow acceptable and indeed desirable? It is utterly at odds with the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
    I have no sympathy for anyone convicted of rape - it is a vile theft of a person's humanity. But what if the person is innocent? I don't care what the politicians say. The general consensus on the street will be there's no smoke without fire. Innocent men can and have had their lives ruined over such allegations. It seems to me that this is considered to be a price worth paying. It's a disgrace.

  • Comment number 37.

    What this means, is |I go out at night, meet someone, we have consensual intimate relations, she regrets it the next morning can makes a rape claim.

    Conclusion Mine and family life is ruined.....

    Men have no protection against lies, for men the only real protection is to record the encounter on your phone. That way when she changes her mind, you just have to broadcast the episode on the web.

    Rape is wrong but the government approach to victimise men is not the solution.

  • Comment number 38.

    No this is bad, to be accused of a crime such of rape is awful if one is innocent, mud sticks a long long time. Dreadful.

  • Comment number 39.

    25. At 12:44pm on 26 Jul 2010, bookworm26 wrote:
    The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.
    This is simply not the case. Having worked with many rape victims, the 6% conviction rate is very low due to lack of evidence, not due to 94% of women lying.
    Unfortunately thats the system. However, whilst I dont believe 94% of woemn are lying, I also dont believe that all 94% are telling the truth and there was no evidence. Rape is a horrendous crime and should be thoroughyl investigated, but annonymity hsould be applied equally, and like all crimes unfortunately the perpetrator (be it a rapist or a "fake" victim) sometimes gets away with it.

  • Comment number 40.

    So natural justice takes second place to political correctness in the Brokeback coalition? There's a surprise.

  • Comment number 41.

    "The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.
    This is simply not the case. Having worked with many rape victims, the 6% conviction rate is very low due to lack of evidence, not due to 94% of women lying."

    I appreciate your position, but that's how the legal system works in this country. Just because there's a low conviction rate, doesn't mean that men aren't any less entitled to the same anonymity as rape victims.

    This is a very sexist ruling and I hope the relevant bodies will take legal action on the perpetrators (if possible)!

  • Comment number 42.

    #20 Andrew, you are wrong. Sex offenders of all sorts are particularly villified, which is precisely the reason they are protected from other prisoners in jails.

    On the subject of low conviction rates: It is a difficult crime to prove. Basically, it often comes down to one persons word against another. In the case of murder you can find the finger prints of the accused on the murder weapon but in rape, the majority of the evidence simply shows that sex occured. It then comes down to whether it was consensual or not and other evidence has to be sought. Again that is often only peoples opinions and statements.

  • Comment number 43.

    bookworm2: "The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent."

    Unless they are proven guilty then, as far as the law is concerned, they are and that is exactly as it should be.

  • Comment number 44.

    Rape is a heinous crime and men who abuse women in such a cowardly way need to be exposed. There are no two ways about that. Love between two consulting adults should not be debased in any way. Rape anonymity only aggravates the whole situation. There is no smoke without fire. Men who commit rape should be given stiff sentences and should be named and shamed.No woman would like to go through the glare of publicity and relive horrendous moments. But m.en who attempt rape should be named and shamed. Of course the rape charge should be investigated thoroughly

  • Comment number 45.

    20. At 12:39pm on 26 Jul 2010, Andrew Marshall wrote:
    This is the right decision.
    Since anonymity is not offered to those accused of other crimes, there is no reason to do so for rape. Being falsely accused of rape carries no more stigma than being accused of any other serious crime, nor is there any evidence of a high rate of false accusations. Indeed, those accused of other sex crimes such as paedophillia were not being offered anonymity under these proposals.
    Then scrap annonymity for the accuser. If justice is meant to be done AND seen to be done, you shouldn't weight the system against one side or the other. Either both are annonymous or neither.
    To use your argument - if being accused of rape is no worse than any other serious crime, then is not being the victim of rape no worse than being the victim of any other serious crime, which doesnt need annonymity?

  • Comment number 46.

    25. At 12:44pm on 26 Jul 2010, bookworm26 wrote:

    The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.
    This is simply not the case. Having worked with many rape victims, the 6% conviction rate is very low due to lack of evidence, not due to 94% of women lying.


    So what do you suggest? We convict people without evidence?

    Under law a defendent *is* innocent if found not guilty.

    Sure, there will be miscarriages of justice (people going to prison who shouldn't and people not going who should) but we can't convict people just because we think the're guilty - we need to prove it. Neither can we have people 'sort of guilty' - they either are or they aren't.

    I think the point is, *if* people are guilty of rape we need to make sure of successful convictions, so maybe it's the investigative part of the process that needs to be improved. But there's no reason an innocent person should suffer the stigma of being publicly accused of rape (or any crime).

    The prosecution of the guilty is extremely important but I hold the protection of the innocent to be more important.

  • Comment number 47.

    The law maxim runs thus 'let ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.' Anonymity should be exercised both for the accused and the victim till a conviction is made. One comes across odd cases where a woman out of vengeance falsely implicates an innocent man for rape. When it is found that a woman is guilty of pressing wrong charges against a man for rape her identity should be made public and she should be made to undergo same confinement as a man for rape.

  • Comment number 48.

    It is right that men accused or Rape should remain anonymous. If they are convicted then they should be named. The stigma attached to a man accused of rape when he is innocent can ruin his life regardless of whether he is innocent or not. This would then prevent trial by media and trial by the public. If they are convicted then they should be named

  • Comment number 49.

    "Should men accused of rape be anonymous?"

    Definitely! Well, at least until conviction.

    If the victim is remain anonymous, quite rightly so, then so should the accused, until found guilty. Until tried and convicted, under our legal system, the accused is innocent. Far too much damage is done to an accused life by being named, which is just punishment if guilty but unacceptable if innocent.

    How outrageous and profoundly unfair and unjust for a false-accuser to have their identity protected, while the identity of their 'victim' is plastered all over the media.

  • Comment number 50.

    Is government right to drop rape anonymity pledge? No, Innocent until proved guilty. Then, "if" guilty feed him to the Wolves.

  • Comment number 51.

    @ 25 Bookworm:

    So your suggestion is to convict more men even though there is little evidence? Great!

    Back on subject though, I agree with many others that both parties should remain anonymous until a verdict is reached. Only then should the guilty party be named.

    This should occur for all crimes, not just ones as emotive as rape. The media circus of this country choose the guilty party depending how it suits the moment a case opens in many cases. This is simply disasterous for some people.

    The real issue with rape cases is the need to get more women to come forward and tell authorities of their plight. No one should be afraid to speak up about people who have wronged them; male or female, child or parent, black or white.

  • Comment number 52.

    People like @bookworm26 are exactly the reason that this change in the rules is required.

    This "no smoke without fire" approach means that any men - no matter that the man be totally innocent - will forever be suspected of being a rapist if one false allegation is made against him.

    bookworm26 is the problem. The proposed change in the reporting laws is the solution, and I condemn the government for abandoning it.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think the government is 100% wrong to drop the rape anonymity pledge. Men standing trial for rape are innocent until proven guilty and should therefore have the right to anonymity. An innocent man's life could be ruined and his reputation tarnished because of the stigma attached to being tried for rape.

  • Comment number 54.

    "25. At 12:44pm on 26 Jul 2010, bookworm26 wrote:
    The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.
    This is simply not the case."

    No they don't!

    Comments in favour of accused anonymity simply recognise that under our legal system every defendant is innocent until proved guilty. If the accuser deserves anonymity then so does the accused.

    Sure, some people found not guilty will in fact not be innocent at all. But, some people found guilty will actually be innocent ... that's been shown to be the case many, many times (e.g. Stefan Kisko).

    Actual guilt or innocence simply isn't the point in this discussion, prior to the verdict. What is the point is fairness and justice.

  • Comment number 55.

    The vast majority of accusations of rape are false, and for that reason there should be more protection to the accused who could effectively have his life destroyed through such false accusations.
    The statistic that only 2% of rape allegations are false published by some feminist group is totally wrong- more like 2% of rape allegations are true and 98% are false

  • Comment number 56.

    During the trial yes...after NO.
    What is required is a specialist team that women feel as ease with and pursues all cases thoroughly.

  • Comment number 57.

    Given the number of people remarking on a 6% conviction rate- can anyone tell me whether that is the failure rate for cases that have gone to Crown? 6% seems a staggeringly low hit rate. My guess is the 6% refers to the number of complaints made, not to cases where charges are brought or where it goes to court.

    Is anonymity right? I would have to say that, in these cases, here should be anonymity for the accused, but should this anonymity exend to other cases? What about allegations of downloading child pron? Fraud allegations are quite serious? Where do we draw the line? Should all accused people have anonymity until conviction?

    Maybe it would be easier (although possibly not fairer) to just remove anonymity for the victim.

  • Comment number 58.

    My son has been accused of rape and was charged last year, we are still waiting to go to trial. The Judge told the reporter that he could not name my son, however when we go to trial taht may be lifted, and he will have to live the stigma for the rest of his life in the town that he lives in.
    That is the thing, his accuser has anonymity unless the police decide to charge her for making a false accusation. The general rule is that the police and cps do not charge false accusers as it may "discourage" genuine rape victims from coming forward.
    My son has been accused by someone who has made a previous false allegation .... lesson learnt by her... she can make a false accusation and get away with it!
    False accusation

  • Comment number 59.

    25. At 12:44pm on 26 Jul 2010, bookworm26 wrote:
    'The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.
    This is simply not the case. Having worked with many rape victims, the 6% conviction rate is very low due to lack of evidence, not due to 94% of women lying.'

    What a bizzare statement bookworm.

    Under UK law, an accused that is found not guilty is indeed innocent.

    Also under UK law, in order to establish guilt and subsequent conviction - guess what? - yes, evidence is required.

    Your comments suggest that you know better, albeit without evidence. How exactly did you come up with this statement? Is it because someone told you so?

  • Comment number 60.

    False allegation of any crime can ruin someone’s life – why not have anonymity of both defendant and victims in all crimes and only release the criminals name when he has been proved guilty?

    Whose interest does it serve to release names anyway? All it does is give journalists something to put in their papers and allow broadcasters to fill up air time – justice is more important than that.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think it’s an abomination that the accused is named and the alleged victim isn’t. Where a crime has been committed, then it’s clearly right to name and shame. However, there are a large number of claimed rape cases which are simply malicious and are solely made to destroy the lives of an innocent individual. In these cases, the accuser often walks away with nothing more than a token fine, slap on the wrist or a couple of weeks in a cell at most. The accused may have already been splashed over the papers, lost his job, friends, family and home.
    It’s a foul crime to commit a rape. It’s just as destructive to falsely accuse.

  • Comment number 62.

    Totally the wrong decision, but not at all unexpected.

    The principle of 'Justice must be seen to be done' is one of the most sacred of sacred cows.

    Well sorry but it is time for steaks and burgers. The principle is completely flawed, introduced at a time when the media did not have saturation, nor was the public desire for sensationalist news so avid.

    The principle of 'Justice must be seen to be done' is one ended. It was originally to show the downtrodden peasant what would happen to them if they broke the law. Since the chances of getting off a charge was so small, the principle did not ever prove the opposite; that the law is there to protect them. It wasn't.

    Continuing this theme, if the media report the name of a man who is accused of rape, then at the very least, a percentage of people who know him, will think "filthy rapist, I hope you get life." How on earth is this innocent (until PROVEN otherwise) man going to be treated?

    Even if found completely innocent; even if the woman admits that she completely fabricated the story, there will always be someone, usually from some woman's pressure group who will mutter about 'got away with it.'

    But this innocent man's lfe is ruined. Be honest, if you were a woman and you found out that your new boyfriend was once tried for rape, would you see him again? Even if he showed you that the woman lied consistently?

    How can this be justice?

    There should be anonimity for ALL criminal cases, for defendents, victims and witnesses. Every single case could then be brought to trial with the case being heard on the facts, not the rabid opinion of a repulsive sensationalist media.

    (And before the womens pressure groups get all worked up, I happen to believe that rape is one of the three or four most evil crimes on the planet, and in some cases should result in the rope, or at the very least, full life tariff. But is must be PROVED.)

  • Comment number 63.

    Having read all of the comments so far, I am a bit surprised that noone appears to have questionned the line in comment #1:

    "The reason we give anonimity to women is because of the stigma attached to a victim."

    Is there a stigma attached to being a rape victim as opposed to being the victim of any other crime? I certainly do not consider a victim of rape to be any different than the victim of an assault or burglary, for example.

    Perhaps it is the granting of annonimity to the victims of rape which should be reviewed. It seems to me that this current practice may be causing more damage than good in that it perpetuates the belief that you would not want to be "known" as a rape victim and that it is in some way shameful. As difficult as attending court may be, I think it is important for all victims to get a very clear message that being the victim of this particular crime is not something they should feel the need to hide.

  • Comment number 64.

    The problem with anonymity which has been pointed out by knowledgeable politicians on all sides is that it can mean that other victims do not come forward.

    This sends the message that "we do not trust victims evidence." Which is completely the WRONG thing to do.

    Far more work needs to be done here before anything is changed.

  • Comment number 65.

    So much for innocent until proven guilty.
    I am the father of four daughters and i can not see the benefit to anyone of releasing the names of people "accused" but unproven in court of anything. In this country we have a long history over 900yrs of a right to trial by jury and not trial by media, which is what it will turn into.

  • Comment number 66.

    Typical law stupidity, the obvious rule "innocent until proven guilty" is the only one needed. If the man is innocent his name is slandered, even if the woman accusing is telling lies and fails to get him convicted since there is a lack of evidence. She walks away free, he walks away with looks of hate for something he didn't do.

    The simple premise is this - would you want a law system that instantly assumes guilt and you have to prove innocence every time you are accused? Forget the disparity of the conditions in place currently as it levels down to that premise.

  • Comment number 67.

    I can think of nothing worse than being falsely accused of rape.
    However on the anonimity question I would have to ask- How many serial rapists have been brought to book only when one of their victims has the bravery to confront them with their crime?

  • Comment number 68.

    I used to live in Sweden. There ANYONE accused of ANY crime has a right to anonymity until proven guilty. Police simply issue a statement such as "a 28-year-old man is helping with enquires" and the press are forbidden from publishing further details. If you believe the basic legal principle "Innocent until proven guilty" then it really should be this way in the UK as well.

  • Comment number 69.

    Many posters seem to be under the impression that there is a high proportion of women making allegations of rape for fun and profit. I would like to see the evidence that this is the case, since given the difficulty of bringing a rape allegation to trial I find it unlikely.

  • Comment number 70.

    This is a travesty. Rape is - next to murder - the vilest of crimes, hence the need to protect the anonymity of both accuser AND accused.

  • Comment number 71.

    My son was arrested and charged with Rape last year. Investigation was a case of we have the statements, what more do we need? police tested one piece of evidence and that turned out to support my son, we had more evidence tested and that supports my son.
    The CPS do not break down rape cases into stranger rape and rape by someone known to the victim. My understanding is that the conviction rate for stranger rape is around 95% but for rape where the people know each other its around 20%.
    as an immediate effect, my son was locked up for 2 weeks, lost his job and now lives 100 mils from his home. all on the word of a person who had made a previous false accusation which we did not find out about until 2 weeks before we were supposed to go to trial....
    Should there be anonymity for those accused? most certainly and false accusers should be prosecuted every time.

  • Comment number 72.

    Part of the problem with this is that they have singled out rape as a special case. Any news story or debate about rape always provokes a massive response as it’s such a sensitive subject. If the same law was proposed for, say, all violent or sex-based offences, there probably wouldn’t be this outcry, because it would be viewed more objectively as a general policy.

    I also don’t agree with the viewpoint that anonymity would deter women from making accusations - I think it would actually have the opposite effect on me. If I was going through a rape trial as the victim, I would want as little information as possible to be available to the media, so that I wouldn’t have to be faced with my attacker in the media as well as in court.

  • Comment number 73.

    #25 - Seems that there should be more emphasis on finding the incriminating evidence if there is such a low rate of conviction - naming and shaming people who have not been found guilty (for any crime) is akin to common gossip, which should not be sanctioned by the law in my opinion.

  • Comment number 74.

    Almost every post here thinks that anonimity for a person accused of rape should the same as the victim.

    Can I then ask a simple question, why name a person accused of rape?

    It can serve no useful purpose, the accused person is known to the police and the court.

    I have heard that it allows other abused women to come forward. However as most allegations are made against persons known to the victim this is a false argument. Not all rapists are serial offenders with numerous victims.

    I go as far as saying this is done purely so that the press can have a field-day every time a 'celeb' has a bust up with a someone they had a one-night-stand with who wants to make some money.

    Like most information regarding this subject the statistics do not equal public perception. The low conviction rate has been commented on, but if you look at the statistics for allegations, number of cases that come to trial and the conviction rate, then rape is exactly the same as most other allegations of assault etc.

    The reason for under reporting and the low number of cases that come to court is that the woman knows their actions will be questioned or there is no independant evidence.

    The government should state quite clearly why they have gone back on this pledge.

    Why must the accused be named?

  • Comment number 75.

    37. At 12:57pm on 26 Jul 2010, Slave to the System - I am not a number wrote:
    'What this means, is |I go out at night, meet someone, we have consensual intimate relations, she regrets it the next morning can makes a rape claim.

    Conclusion Mine and family life is ruined.....

    Men have no protection against lies, for men the only real protection is to record the encounter on your phone. That way when she changes her mind, you just have to broadcast the episode on the web.'

    Errr hang on a minute, you talk of lies yet if a one night stand changes her mind you and your family life are ruined!!! What about the lies to your wife? (and to yourself) I wouldn't bother with logging telephone calls, just dont bother with one night stands imbecile.

    I do remember a night with a female work collegue who stated that she would accuse me (very tongue in cheek) of rape if I didn't sleep with her. Of course I didn't sleep with her and she didn't accuse me of rape but she did tell a few collegues that i wasn't very good in the scratcher. Made me think about what to bring home though.

  • Comment number 76.

    Politically correct, anti male Cant. Mens reputations can be ruined with impunity and that has been proved. I am a red blooded male when it come to this but I suspect that our political leadership has started wearing skirts-or was it kilts?!

  • Comment number 77.

    I feel completely let down by the way Cameron has seemingly caved in to a MINORITY of female MPs. No-one would deny the abhorrence of rape as a crime but by giving the victims anonymity but not the accused it gives a license for women with a grudge to make false accusations.
    This bizarre Harmenesque style of discrimination against men has seemed to become acceptable under New Labour. It seems Cameron has no intention of changing this despicable trend. He's lost my vote.

  • Comment number 78.

    I know someone who was falsely accused of rape. Fortunately it did not get further than him being detained overnight at the police station, but it was still a harrowing experience and had a visible effect on him. The girl in question, in comparison, despite having admitted to numerous people he had not raped her, would still tell people who did not know him that he had, and has continued to lead her life as normal with no consequences. It is because of girls like her that many women who HAVE been raped do not get convictions.
    It is also why defendents should be annonymous until proven guilty.

  • Comment number 79.

    Is government right to drop rape anonymity pledge?
    The names of neither the victim not the victimizer should be publically disclosed until guilt has been established.
    All these words that we sometimes use to protect public disclosure, like the word "alleged", do not totally recover the reputation of someone falsely accused, or the bodily integraty of a person so deeply violtated.
    I would support The Coalition Government in granting pre-conviction anonymity, but think that we should sky-write the names of all convicted rapists.

  • Comment number 80.

    'Slave to the System - I am not a number' sums it up perfectly :-

    Men have no protection against lies

  • Comment number 81.

    Several years ago I knew a young man who was accused of rape by a vindictive ex-girlfriend. He did not get anonymity but she did. It took a year for the charges to be thrown out by the courts. No action was taken against his demonstrably lying accuser.

    His name had appeared in the papers, he lost his job and the stigma of the accusation followed him for many years. She may not have gotten him thrown in prison but she did wreck his life. Last I heard of him he had moved abroad to start a new life. Last I heard of her she was getting divorced for a second time and still gloating over what she had done.

    It is women like her who are the reason rape allegations are viewed with suspicion.

  • Comment number 82.

    One thought - Anonymity for an accused might help a woman who wanted to bring a case against a partner/husband.

    If the accused name is released in the presss then might it be easier for local people deduce who the victim was anyway.

  • Comment number 83.

    It's clearly wrong to have one side of a case afforded anonymity while the other side is not. One way or other, it has to be equal.

    "Innocent until proven guilty" has been an unfashionable paradigm of the last 13 years. How is it good to increase the conviction rate if innocent people are among those being convicted?

    Do people really think that innocent people are never accused of rape by vindictive (ex-/jilted-) lovers or disenfranchised contacts? Do they think that innocent teachers are never accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour by pupils who know process will be on their side? Wake up - it happens every single day. Many times a day!

    By their nature, accusations of rape can be hard to prove. By their nature, the only evidence may be one person's word against another. Probably also false reporting will be much higher than for other crimes. So the report:conviction ratio is almost bound to be lower than for other offences. Don't try to solve that problem by convicting innocent people. After being defecated on by society, innocent people wrongly convicted could be the most dangerous people in the world.

  • Comment number 84.

    There IS smoke without fire.

    It's called a smokescreen!

    And you know what smokescreens do?

  • Comment number 85.

    The public has a right to know who the rapists are, both before and after trial. Realizing that anonymity is not available might help these sad deviants think twice.

  • Comment number 86.

    The real shame is that we live in a society so morally screwed up that a woman who has been raped should feel so stigmatized and so ashamed that she should want anonymity in the first place.

  • Comment number 87.

    So a man accused of rape and proved not guilty has his life ruined simply by being accused, a woman walks away scot free despite ruining the life of an innocent! Sorry, this is a very bad idea.

    Locally we do have a serial rape claimer. Unfortunately she has not been named. She should be!

  • Comment number 88.

    • 19. At 12:39pm on 26 Jul 2010, bookworm26 wrote:
    "With the staggeringly low conviction rates (something ridiculous like 6%), rape victims need all the support they can get.
    Singling them out for defendant anonymity sends a terrible message to victims."

    The reason for the 6% conviction rate is the vast majority of ‘rape’ cries are malicious. They are either petty revenge on partners or an escape mechanism when caught in bed with the wrong bloke. Maybe its not 94% but it's a hell of a lot more than 50%.
    Yes I accept that real rape is a serious crime. Yes I feel sympathy for the small number or real victims who do not get a conviction.
    I also feel sympathy for the vast number of innocent men who have their lives ruined just to give vengeful feminists some state funded pampering and their ‘special’ moment in court.
    The real injustice however is that some rape lies actually result in guys getting long prison sentences for nothing worse than sleeping with a stupid girlfriend. We need to make bringing false accusations far more difficulty ... Then we may see conviction rates rise.

  • Comment number 89.

    The conviction rate is so low that granting anonymity only if they are not convicted is effectively 100% anonymity. So very many men get away with it. The only conviction possible for almost all rape victims is the stigma attached to the accused. Rape victinms reporting rape are accused of making an allegation. They are not beleived from the start - they have made an allegation. It is appalling and dreadful. With the vast majority of men gettinmg away with it - and that is amongst those that get as far as court, so many nevr get that far. If it gets as far as court, that is the only time a rapist has to worry about his name being given. And if it has gotten as far as court there is very good evidence against him as going to court means there is a good case with a good chance of success. So yes - name this tiny minority of rapists. Its the very least you can do.

  • Comment number 90.

    "21. At 12:39pm on 26 Jul 2010, jacko wrote:

    Why do Harriet Harperson and her sisterhood always advocate wanting to increase the conviction rate of alleged rapists?
    Since when should there be a target for guilty verdicts? What happened to trial by jury? How conveniently the sisterhood forget the litany of false vexatious claims of rape by women as a grudge against totally innocent men, the latter then become tarred and scarred for life while the women retain anonymity."

    I totally agree. You cannot have a target for increasing conviction rates for people accused of a crime. It's ridiculous. We should aim to convict 100% of those guilty of rape, but it is impossible to determine what percentage of alledged cases are in fact genuine. How are people able to assess what percentage of rape cases are genuine? Are they psychic? Were they there?

    People are saying why should those accused of rape get anonymity when it doesn't exist for other crimes. I think the response to that is, what other crimes with such lengthy sentences are brought to court often on the back of little to no physical evidence of the crime taking place? None that I can think of!

    I mean, if someone is accused of murder then there is a body. If there has been a burgalry there is physical evidence left at the scene. But with rape? Often accusations are brought considerable times after the crime is alledged to have taken place. It also must be a nightmare assessing in some cases what the difference is between the physical evidence of rape and that of vigourous love making. It's appalling that we still have such a disgusting crime in today's society and we must make every effort that victims of rape are afforded every chance to see their attacker convicted. But we mustn't forget that men falsely accused of rape are also victims and they must have the right to live their lives free of the stigma such an accusation can bring.

    In cases where it is little more than one word against another should we really name the suspect until he/she is convicted?

    A code of conduct is not enough for newspapers. If they carry a story about someone accused of rape, then the least they should do is give equal coverage (and on the same page as the original story) to the case on acquittal if the accused is proven to be innocent.

  • Comment number 91.

    Re comment

    At 12:44pm on 26 Jul 2010, bookworm26 wrote:

    The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.
    This is simply not the case. Having worked with many rape victims, the 6% conviction rate is very low due to lack of evidence, not due to 94% of women lying.

    GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT Bookworm26 -

    What you are quoting are misleading statistic put about by Harriet Harmon who was told by Baraoness Stern back in March 2101 ( Author of Stern Report) to stop using these misleading figures.

    The six per cent figure relates to reported cases. In fact, the conviction rate for those actually charged with rape is nearly two out of three, higher than comparable figures for other violent crime.

  • Comment number 92.

    I think the goverment & labour have missed the point on this!

    Both parties should have the right to anonymity and only for one reason and one reason only to ensure a fair trial. The suggestion that if the defendant has anonymity would put a jury in some doubt about the person accusing the crime is maddness. The fact that it would make it to court in the first place should ensure that the victim has been dealt with fairly.

    Personally, all crimes should be dealt this way to ensure everybody has the right to a fair trial. If people are a danger to society they should be forced to be remanded by the state and not by public oppion or however many newspapers fleet street want to sell.

    Anonymity, for the defendants might actually help more victims come forward.

  • Comment number 93.

    10. At 12:25pm on 26 Jul 2010, Icebloo wrote:
    Only a few months in to the new government and the erosion of our human rights continues....
    Icebloo, this is currently the law that the previous govt introduced? The new govt haven't created this law, they are however not ammending it, which is disappointing to say the least.
    Being falsely accused of any crime is terrible nevermind something so serious as rape.
    Anonomity should be standard on rape charges unless both parties names are released.... which will never happen.

  • Comment number 94.

    Are there any views in favour of Guilty until Proven Innocent ?

  • Comment number 95.

    For a "stigma crime" like rape, *both* the defendant and the accuser should initially be granted the right of anonymity. If the case against the defendent is proved, he should be named. If it is not proved, especially if there is any hint of malicious wrongful accusation, the accuser should be named. But neither person should be named until the verdict is known. Simple.

  • Comment number 96.

    Of course men should remain anonymous unless and until convicted. In the case of rape, there is just as much stigma attached to the accused as to the victim, unjustifiably so should the accused be found not guilty or in the event that the case be dropped. Unfortunately, some pressure groups are more practised at getting their opinion heard and acted upon - largely because of yet another government that likes to 'lead from behind', rather than from a position of personal conviction.

  • Comment number 97.

    As the victim of a false claim I have first hand knowledge of how damaging this is. I was left broken after the alligation against me even though the police dropped the charge against myself, charged her for false alligations, theft and wasteing police time. The thought that someone less fortunate then myself, where the police dont have witnesses to disprove the supposed incident could be named for something that would in all likely hood destroy there life is simply discusting.

  • Comment number 98.

    25. At 12:44pm on 26 Jul 2010, bookworm26 wrote:

    The above comments seem to assume that if found not guilty, the defendant is innocent.


    Primarily because the Law states that If you are found 'Not Guilty' you are 'Not Guilty' however The Court of Appeal can now quash an acquittal and order a retrial when "new and compelling" evidence is produced,

    But the bottom line of Western Jutstice is you are in fact 'Innocent UNTIL PROVEN Guilty'.

    It is one of the UNHRC rights that Alongside the inherent right of an accused to silence when asked a question in interview and the right not to enter the witness box as protection from self incrimination.

    In Scotland we have a 'not proven' verdict which means there is an element of doubt where (quote) "Essentially, the judge or jury is unconvinced that the suspect is innocent, but has insufficient evidence to the contrary"

    As for the naming of suspects... since when does trial by media help the cause of justice or benefit the victim... I believe this is a red herring though... We should be dealing with the rare cases where there is a malicious allegation of rape for whatever reason, whether it be revenge fear pregnancy rage or jealousy etc.

    In these cases it should be fairly easy to establish whether the rape allegation is founded, and if there is a case to answer the false accusor should be named, shamed, jailed and placed on the sex offenders register, as they do nothing to serve the cause of genuine rape victims who deserve every help and support we can give them.

  • Comment number 99.

    Rape is a repugnant crime, but it is indefensible to publish a mans name and keep the alleged victim anonymous. The whole purpose of a trial is to decide guilt or innocence - the speaker to day just automatically assumes a man is guilty at the start of trial - I suspect this lady would be happy if there was no trial at all becausae the women is always telling the truth. If a man is a rapist he must be punished, but rape cannot be considered somehow different from other crimes, the important point in any trial is that it is heard, the evidence tested and a judgement made, this is as important in a rape trial as in any other.

  • Comment number 100.

    Being accused of a crime doesn't mean that crime was committed by the person accused, (or even that the alleged crime actually happened) however, the press report such incidents as if the accused are guilty and people only believe in what they want. Therefore no names should be released for anyone accused of any crime until the trial has ended. Note that it even makes finding people to sit on a jury difficult as they often have read newspaper articles on the case with names attached!

    Don't forget, just because someone is found to be guilty by a court following a trial, that that person may not actually be so, many court decisions are found to be wrong, hence many appeals, it often appears to be the way the trial progresses and not the weight of evidence that determines the outcome and if the accused cannot prove their innocents the court finds them guilty, even though they are meant to be presumed innocent until the prosecution can prove beyond doubt of their guilt. Not always the case!

    This is not to take anything away from those who are guilty of crimes, they should be dealt with by the appropriate authorities, and serve their sentence, but I am always nervous of the witch hunt process the newspapers seem to whip people up. It causes a lot more problems and the reporters turn their backs on responsibility for this claiming privilege or they were just reporting what others were saying! The papers should take much more responsibility for their actions.


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