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Why victims in rape cases aren’t only women now

PUBLISHED: 10:03 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:03 17 January 2018

A string of rape trials have collapsed because of false allegations made against men, says Rachel Moore. (picture posed by model). Picture: Dominic Lipinski

A string of rape trials have collapsed because of false allegations made against men, says Rachel Moore. (picture posed by model). Picture: Dominic Lipinski

PA

We need to educate our sons about the risk of false rape allegations, says Rachel Moore.

For mothers of grown-up sons, sleepless nights used to rooted in the worry of motorbikes, nightclubs, fights and too much beer.

Now add to the list the fear of rape allegations, of young men drinking too much, with young women drinking too much and having sex that leads to a knock on the door from police.

The young woman, who he believes he had consensual sex with after a night out, insists she had said no.

A false rape allegation has become a real consequence of casual sex, along with STDs and pregnancy, and must be as important part of sex education in schools and of the parent son – and parent-daughter – conversations over the kitchen table.

It’s a big anxiety talking point among mothers of young men of a certain age.

Fall-out from a false rape allegation – for both parties – is devastating. Mud sticks. A man charged with rape is named in the media and, however much publicity his acquittal or trial collapse attracts, the label lingers, possible for life.

I’m forever supportive of rape victims and in awe of their courage, for reporting it and going through the hideous ordeal of a rape trial is for women, when every detail of their private lives is delved into in open court when they are torn apart by Rottweiler defence barristers, when conviction rates for rapists are notoriously low.

But victims in rape cases aren’t only women now.

Justice for men is now being threatened by under-funding and resourcing of the police, with detectives exposed for cutting corners in evidence gathering and not bothering to deal with complaints properly and thoroughly, investigating all lines of enquiry.

Men are being falsely accused and the police are failing in their duty to bring about fair trials for men publicly named as accused rapists while the alleged victims, quite rightly, is shielded by the law of anonymity.

This week another accused rapist was cleared when it was revealed that police hadn’t done their job properly.

Incredibly, detectives had failed to disclose photographs of the 28-year-old cuddling in bed with his alleged victim before consensual sex. The accused had to hire his own expert to retrieve the photographs from his mobile phone after police said it contained nothing of interest that was relevant to the case.

The phone had contained more than a dozen photographs of the accused and his accuser in bed cuddling.

He had the truth on his phone but he had been forced to endure months of trauma, stigma and abuse until it finally emerged because the police failed to do what they should have done.

Last month, the trial of 22-year-old Liam Allan collapsed when text messages not revealed by the police showed that his accuser had lied.

Again, the detective who had the phone record had not looked at it in full. Allan’s barrister said she had three other cases where evidence had not been disclosed or delayed.

Taxpayers also had to pick up a £1 million bill after innocent teacher Kato Harris was awarded £181,000 from the Crown Prosecution Service after being pursued for three rape claims by a female pupil.

A jury cleared him in minutes after it was revealed the accuser’s family lawyers had tried to influence police investigations.

Police underfunding – or incompetence – by not investigating or withholding vital evidence is costing heavily in wasted court time, but, more importantly, wrecking innocent lives.

Oversights, chancing or rigid mindsets have no place in any police investigation. Disregarding disregard significant material should be a dismissible offence.

Police officers continue with their careers towards a fat pension when a young man has been labelled a rapist, might have lost his job, friends, reputation, because police didn’t bother to investigate – or withheld – crucial information.

Naming the accused is a thorny subject. By naming, there is always the chance of previous victims to come forward. But, as innocent until proved guilty, the tarnish of a rape allegation doesn’t dissolve if an accused is cleared.

False rape allegations are rare in comparison to the publicity they receive, but they are very real.

Parents must to talk to their sons about these cases and how easy it is for what they believe is a great night to turn into a long living nightmare.

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