Rape compensation cut for drunk victims
Rape victim campaigners today called for an inquiry into "old and silly prejudices" after it emerged that some women had compensation cut because they had been drinking.
In the past year, 14 rape victims - 1 per cent of rape-related applications - were told they would receive lower levels of compensation due to alcohol consumption, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) told the Guardian newspaper
One woman, who believes she was raped four years ago after having her drink spiked, successfully overturned a decision by the CICA to award her less money because she had been drinking "excessively".
She told The Guardian that being told the standard award of £11,000 would be reduced by 25 per cent in her case, to £8,250 "felt like a slap in the face".
She received a letter from the CICA which stated: "The evidence that we have shows that your excessive consumption of alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident."
The woman said: "When I read the CICA letter I just had no words; I could not take it in.
"It felt like I was being punished for having the audacity to step up and say 'I don't think this should have happened to me'.
"It was like going back to the '70s, saying 'she was asking for it'.
"How else could you read the letter but as saying it's my fault I was raped?"
The CICA admitted its compensation scheme was "originally applied wrongly" but the mistake was corrected at review and the award was paid in full.
However, Sandra McNeill, of the Campaign to End Rape, called for an inquiry.
She said: "No woman is responsible for being raped. A man knows what he is doing and it is never the woman's fault.
"Once a woman has gone through the terrible procedure of reporting a rape the compensation is irrelevant because the effect of the crime on the victim is the same.
"Rape is rape is rape."
Ms McNeill said that the Government should examine past cases of rape to see if "old and silly prejudices" have affected final decisions.
"Old prejudices like if a woman is wearing a short skirt or acting in a certain way are still operational", she said.
"They seem to think that all women should live like middle-class housewives of the 1950s. Nobody lives like that anymore.
"They are simply silly, silly prejudices.
"By reducing compensation because a woman has been drinking CICA is operating under those old prejudices."
A spokesman for the CICA said: "CICA's policy is not to make a reduction on a claim for compensation following rape on the basis of alcohol consumption.
"The scheme was originally applied wrongly in this case, but this was corrected at review and the award was paid in full."
CICA has reviewed staff instructions, operating procedures and structure to ensure greater consistency in decision-making, the spokesman said.
He added: "We deal with around 60,000 cases each year. There may be times when an original decision is wrong.
"This is why we have a review process to allow the applicant to challenge that decision.
"As a final safeguard there is the opportunity to ask an independent appeals panel to look at the case afresh."
Justice Minister Bridget Prentice said: "It is not our policy to reduce the level of award to a victim of rape due to alcohol consumption.
"This stance supports our view that a victim of rape is not in any way culpable due to alcohol consumption.
"It is never an individual's fault if he/she gets raped; regardless of how much he/she has drunk."
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete vomits again after photographs of Reeva Steenkamp's body are shown in court
Arrest made after man is found by the side of the road with his penis cut off
Malaysia flight MH370: Pitbull song lyrics bear uncanny resemblance to missing plane mystery, according to YouTubers
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Indian Ocean latest search area for the aircraft and its passengers
'A charlatan' who scores 'cheap political points': Jeremy Paxman reopens war of words with Michael Gove over the World War One centenary
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
- 1 Arrest made after man is found by the side of the road with his penis cut off
- 2 Carnage after car hits cyclists in Brazil
- 3 Tim Berners-Lee on creating the web: 'I never expected all these cats'
- 4 Malaysia flight MH370: Pitbull song lyrics bear uncanny resemblance to missing plane mystery, according to YouTubers
- 5 First Kiss viral video was just a clothing advert starring actors