This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.

 

 

 

Fighting for compensation

Woman raped and robbed was initially refused award because of prostitution convictions, but wins £4,000 on appeal

Success story

On 12 March 1996 a women who was violently attacked, raped and robbed won £4,000 compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB). The CICB had initially refused her compensation because she had convictions related to prostitution. The rapist was imprisoned but the CICB turned down her compensation in spite of recognizing that her convictions “have nothing whatsoever to do with the incident”. In using its discretionary powers to deny or reduce compensation in this way, the CICB is increasingly out of step with public opinion. Paragraph 6(c) on Character and Conduct must to be dropped from the CICB guidelines. Compensation should not be based on evidence about the victim’s occupation or “way of life”, sex, race, class, disability, immigration or other legal status, age, sexual preference, etc.

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Woman wins £10,000 after a year's delay before reporting

Success story

In 1992 Ms X a housewife and mother was subjected to a series of violent rapes by a neighbour. His intimidation included threats she’d lose her children and so she did not tell anybody about the rapes for months. When she told her husband he suffered a nervous breakdown. Ms X finally informed the police in June 1993. The CPS refused to prosecute because of the delay in reporting. Her solicitor advised her that the delay meant there is no point in applying for criminal injuries compensation. But encouraged by WAR she applied in 1995 and was awarded £10,000. An earlier High Court precedent was set in March 1995 ruling that a woman who had delayed six weeks before reporting was entitled to compensation, and that the CICB should take account of the fact that the traumatic effects of an assault may prevent rape survivors from reporting it for some time.

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Woman wins £15,000, but rape award was cut by 50% because she had used alcohol & cannabis

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Single mother Ms L was abducted in 1985 from outside a pub and taken to a wasteland where she suffered a horrific violent sexual assault. The three men were discussing how to dispose of her body, but they were frightened off. The police never caught the men. Ms L was given an interim award of £3,000 and told her final award would be reduced by 50% for two reasons: 1) her conduct – she had been drinking and allegedly had chosen to leave the pub with the men, and allegedly had been seen kissing one. In fact both allegations were false. 2) Because of a conviction for having her partner’s cannabis in her home AFTER the assault. In 1993 after WAR took on the appeal, and got a major article in the Independent on Sunday, she was given a £15,000 final award, but reduced it by 50%.

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Woman raped twice by husband wins increase from £3,000 to £25,000

Success story

Ms P was awarded £3,000 for two rapes by her separated husband; we had to make the case in appealing that a) rape by husband is at least as bad and b) two rapes are worse than one. In 1992 WAR represented her at the hearing but since the Board had already decided to increase her award they prevented us or the woman herself from speaking. After less than an hour’s hearing, she was awarded £25,000, including about £5,000 for hip and arm injuries incurred in the course of the rapes.

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Refused compensation because she delayed reporting for a week -- finally she wins

Success story

In 1982 Ms B was dragged off the street by a mental patient and held captive in his flat, threatening her with a knife and a gun, while he raped her twice. She became pregnant as a result of the rape. She was refused compensation because she had delayed one week in reporting the attack to the police. WAR helped her appeal making the case that such a delay is normal – in fact, short – and that as a Black woman Ms B and her family had bad experiences of the police, in addition to knowing about problems with the police response to rape; moreover she had been advised against reporting. The police then didn’t turn up to two appeal hearings in 1986 and 1988, resulting in postponement and wasting everyone’s time. Finally in 1991 Ms B got an award, but it was still reduced by a third because of the delay in reporting.

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