Rape victim: 'I spent hours giving a 40-page statement'

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The Independent Online

Chloe Smith, 17, had met Peter on only a few occasions. They lived in neighbouring villages in Leicestershireand went to the same school. So, when he invited her to go round his house she saw no reason to object.

"His parents were at home, so it felt safe and normal. We just chatted in the lounge. Then he asked me if I wanted to listen to music in his room. It must have been about then that his parents went out. He had been drinking and I had not. I think he was quite drunk by then. He put a film on in the room and then closed the curtains so it was dark. Suddenly, he started kissing me but I didn't want him to and so I pushed him away. It didn't stop him. He got up and put a stool against the door so I couldn't escape. He put his body on top of me. I told him to get off but he attacked me. Afterwards, I ran out of the house crying."

In the next few days Chloe decided to report the rape to the police.

"I was scared but thought once I was there they would be able to help me. Instead, they said that unless I told my parents there was nothing they could do. I didn't want to worry them." More than a year later Chloe agreed to tell her parents and made her second visit to the police.

"It couldn't have been worse. I went to the police station where I spent hours giving a 40-page statement without a break. I felt very uncomfortable during the whole process. Later, I found out they had a special sexual assault referral centre which they should have taken me to. It took them three attempts to arrest him but they failed to inform me when they had or tell me what his bail conditions were. I got a couple of dodgy phone calls from him and afterwards I kept seeing him drive past my house.

"The police were supposed to put a panic alarm in my house but that didn't happen."

A few months later, Chloe, who is now 20, was admitted to hospital for an operation on a knee injury shesustained in the attack.

"As I was coming out of hospital, I was approached by an officer who told me that they were not going ahead with the case. It was a stupid time to tell me that news. I was still feeling the effects of morphine and was very groggy. I did get a letter from the CPS explaining it in more detail but it was in too much legal language so I asked them to write another one. That one was no better. When I asked to see someone to talk about it my request was refused. They said they didn't have enough forensic stuff and that the police should have taken evidence when I first made my complaint. But now the defence will be able to say that it was contaminated. The whole experience has ruined my life. I still can't go out late at night.

"My dad has since taken the law into his own hands and went round the boy's house and hit him. At first I thought, 'Good on you, Dad' but then he ended up on a charge of assault and has a criminal record. It needn't have been like this if the police had done a proper job in the first place."

The names in this article have been changed