i Editor's Letter: No excuses for mislabelling abuse
Oliver Duff was appointed Editor of i in June 2013. He was previously Executive Editor at The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday, running the newsroom. Formerly a reporter, gossip columnist and news editor, he was fired as the magazine's bar critic after three weeks. A diver and surfer, he's interested in nature and science, politics and diplomacy.
Thursday 08 August 2013
Young teens’ sexuality is uncomfortable and misunderstood by many adults. But abuse is another matter. No excuses can be made for the behaviour of the CPS barrister who described a 13-year-old victim of sexual abuse as “predatory” and “sexually experienced”.
The leniency of the abuser’s sentence, a suspended jail term, is to be reviewed, the Attorney General’s Office has announced. But a more fundamental matter is at stake: such victim-blaming contributes to sex abuse cases going unreported.
Prosecutors are obliged to draw to a court’s attention anything that assists the defendant, but the law is supposed to protect young teenage girls from older men – not blame them for being abused once they come forward to report it. The age of consent is 16. In this case the girl was 13 and the man was 41. His computer contained images of child sex abuse. It’s clear who the predator was. Shame on the CPS. Such barristers shouldn’t need to be specially trained – but they do.
On cheerier matters, if you know any students who will be second-year undergraduates this September and are keen to pursue a career in the media or marketing (or you fit that description yourself), you may like to know that i’s marketing team is about to hire “brand ambassadors” at 25 British universities. The idea is to spread the gospel of i on campus, help us co-ordinate various promotional events and contribute to our student coverage. More information on the sort of people we’re looking to join our team can be found at independent.co.uk/istudents. And thanks to all i readers who convert friends and family by word of mouth!
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