Website to boost rape reporting in London
A website aimed at boosting the number of reported rapes has been launched by the Metropolitan Police.
Called My Decision, the site provides a step-by-step guide for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted.
It is designed to overcome barriers people may have to reporting such crimes - for example victims fearing they would not be believed.
According to the Met only one in five rape victims go to the police and about 40% choose not to report it.
The Rape Crisis charity welcomed the fact the website will give information and answer victims' questions, but said it lacks links to "crucial support services".
'Suffering in silence'
The site takes the user through all their options; from who to contact, to the type of care they will receive, how evidence will be collected, making a report, the investigation and their ability to control the process.
It also offers advice and links to other support organisations, like The Havens which provides help to victims who do not want to go to the police.
Det Ch Supt Mick Duthie, head of the Sapphire Command which investigates serious sexual violence, said such offences remained "seriously under-reported" and far too many people were "suffering in silence".
He said: "Victims may be unaware of what help is out there for them and could be apprehensive about speaking with the police for fear they will have no control over the ensuing police process.
"Mydecision.co.uk will play a key role in helping victims get the support they need and assisting them in taking a positive step on their journey to speaking out."
Kerry Carter's decision to speak out resulted in Bill Lambert being jailed for 11 years in 2011 for the rape and indecent assault of four young girls, aged between 11 and 14, in the 1980s.
The 38-year-old, who waived her right to anonymity, said: "For more than 20 years I lived with the guilt of believing this was my fault.
"I wanted to speak out to show others that you must not be ashamed if this happens to you and to encourage those who may be sitting at home now confused and unsure about what to do to come forward and tell someone."
Fiona Elvines, operations co-ordinator at Rape Crisis South London, said: "It's great to see that the police are actually recognising the difficulty that women experience when they report rape.
"The whole criminal justice system can be very, very daunting for a survivor of rape so it's good that there's some information that's out there which is quite clear and easily accessible through a website so you don't have to actually talk to somebody about it.
"But we are a bit disappointed that there is no mention of Rape Crisis on there. We run the national helpline for Rape Crisis England and Wales which receives over 50,000 calls from female survivors each year.
"What the website is missing is crucial access to support services which can help someone with the emotional impacts and consequences once they start reporting and their friends and families and partners start to know what they have gone through."