Entrapment cannot stop rape

Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) welcomes any move to open the debate on improving the ways in which the police investigate allegations of rape. Investigating and proving rape, particularly in cases where the attacker is known to the victim, is notoriously difficult, but that is no reason to stop attempting to bring rapists to justice.However, we are approaching the latest police proposal to use American style tactics of text messaging with caution. The basic technique involves the victim sending a text to their alleged attacker in the hope that they will reply and incriminate themselves in the process. Our primary concern with the adoption of such a practice is the possible effects this could have on the victim.
Despite the success of these ‘pretext’ messages in Canada and the States, it is inevitable that not every perpetrator will rise to the bait, and there must be a strong possibility that they will deny that anything happened outright. The impact of having their ordeal go unacknowledged or denied could be devastating for a victim. It could lead to them having to contend with an entirely different set of emotional responses and issues on top of those created by the rape itself.At OSARCC we strongly believe that it is the victim’s choice to decide whether or not they report an attack to the police. For those who do seek police intervention, it is to be hoped that it would also be their choice to decide whether or not to engage with this practice. It is estimated that up to 85% of rapes currently go unreported. Undue pressure to have any form of contact with their attacker and, in effect, to go ‘cruising for a possible emotional/psychological bruising’ in the event that it backfired, could deter even more rape victims from making formal complaints.A skewed perception of the number of false rape allegations is already prevalent in society and this is in part responsible for the low level of convictions. It would be grossly unfair if those victims who didn’t participate in these tactics, or who received a negative response, were henceforth viewed as less reliable by the police, the CPS, who make the decision whether or not to prosecute, and ultimately by a jury.Obviously many questions still remain to be answered about how pretext messages could be used to ensnare rapists, not least the admissibility of such evidence and how safe any convictions based upon it would be. OSARCC believes that there will only ever be a significant increase in conviction rates if survivors are given access to proper support alongside efficient police investigations. We remain committed to the view that, as important as successfuxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) welcomes any move to open the debate on improving the ways in which the police investigate allegations of rape. Investigating and proving rape, particularly in cases where the attacker is known to the victim, is notoriously difficult, but that is no reason to stop attempting to bring rapists to justice.However, we are approaching the latest police proposal to use American style tactics of text messaging with caution. The basic technique involves the victim sending a text to their alleged attacker in the hope that they will reply and incriminate themselves in the process. Our primary concern with the adoption of such a practice is the possible effects this could have on the victim.
Despite the success of these ‘pretext’ messages in Canada and the States, it is inevitable that not every perpetrator will rise to the bait, and there must be a strong possibility that they will deny that anything happened outright. The impact of having their ordeal go unacknowledged or denied could be devastating for a victim. It could lead to them having to contend with an entirely different set of emotional responses and issues on top of those created by the rape itself.At OSARCC we strongly believe that it is the victim’s choice to decide whether or not they report an attack to the police. For those who do seek police intervention, it is to be hoped that it would also be their choice to decide whether or not to engage with this practice. It is estimated that up to 85% of rapes currently go unreported. Undue pressure to have any form of contact with their attacker and, in effect, to go ‘cruising for a possible emotional/psychological bruising’ in the event that it backfired, could deter even more rape victims from making formal complaints.A skewed perception of the number of false rape allegations is already prevalent in society and this is in part responsible for the low level of convictions. It would be grossly unfair if those victims who didn’t participate in these tactics, or who received a negative response, were henceforth viewed as less reliable by the police, the CPS, who make the decision whether or not to prosecute, and ultimately by a jury.Obviously many questions still remain to be answered about how pretext messages could be used to ensnare rapists, not least the admissibility of such evidence and how safe any convictions based upon it would be. OSARCC believes that there will only ever be a significant increase in conviction rates if survivors are given access to proper support alongside efficient police investigations. We remain committed to the view that, as important as successful prosecutions in the courtroom may be, they should remain secondary to the target of reducing rape itself. This can only be achieved by continuing to challenge the negative gender stereotypes that still persist in society today.OSARCC’s confidential Listening Service is open as follows:
Monday -6:30-9pm
Thursday – 6:30-9pm
Sunday- 6-8:30pm
Please call 01865 726295. We are happy to call you back.If you wish to volunteer or make a donation, email osarcc@gmail.com