56% believe some rape victims partly to blame for attack

More than half of Britons believe some rape victims should take responsibility for being attacked, research suggested today.

In a new poll, 56 per cent of those questioned felt that there were certain circumstances where the victim should be held partly accountable.

Of those, 28 per cent thought people who wore revealing clothes should take some of the blame if they were sexually assaulted.

Among women, 23 per cent said if someone danced provocatively at a nightclub they should be held partly responsible, and 15 per cent said the same if they had accepted a drink from their attacker.

The research, called Wake Up To Rape, was carried out to mark the 10th anniversary of the Havens, which runs sexual assault referral centres in London.

Dr Jan Welch, clinical director at the Haven in Camberwell, south-east London, said: "Unfortunately, women have bought into the idea that sometimes the rape victim is to blame. Under no circumstances is a woman at fault for being raped.

"Coping with the emotional trauma of rape or sexual assault is made even harder when the victim is made to feel responsible for what's happened."

The poll of more than 1,000 people living in London showed that 18 per cent of those questioned thought most rape claims were false.

It also found that 23 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men had been made to have sex when they did not want to.

When asked what action they would take if they were raped, one in 25 respondents said they would do nothing. The most common reason was feeling ashamed.

Many people took risks when it came to personal safety, particularly those aged 18 to 24.

Nearly half of those asked had walked home via back streets on their own (46 per cent), while 26 per cent had left their drink unattended in bar.

A fifth had got into a taxi without checking whether it was licensed, and the same number had got so drunk that they could not remember a night out.

The Havens is available to anyone who has been raped in the past 12 months regardless of whether they reported it to the police.

* Opinion Matters surveyed 1,061 people aged 18 to 50 in London online.