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.




Rapes not being properly investigated, claims report

In the Media

 The Times, 28 Feb 2012

Watchdog says serial attackers could be missed

Richard Ford Home Correspondent

Serious failings in police investigations of alleged rapes are undermining the chances of convicting serial attackers, according to a report published today.

Rapes reported to police are being written off by officers as if they were not a crime and police are failing to check the criminal records of foreigners that could help to establish patterns of sex offending.

Police reports on rapes in different areas, which could help to provide links between attacks, were up-to-date in just three of the 43 forces in England and Wales, the report by the Inspectorates of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Officers do not fully understand how the partial use of DNA samples would help to eliminate suspects and help them direct their investigations into attacks more effectively.

The report calls for police and prosecutors to improve the way they investigate and prosecute rape allegations so they can "make a real difference in catching and convicting repeat and serial rapists".

It found that while progress has been made in the way rape victims are treated by the justice system, improvements must be made by the police in gathering intelligence to identify alleged rapists.

Almost one in eight reported rapes are written off by police as being not a crime amid suspicions that the practice is driven by the need to meet crime and conviction targets. The report said that on average reported rapes were four times as likely as reported crimes of grievous bodily harm to be judged by officers not to be a crime.

"While we acknowledge that no two crime types are the same, we think the comparison is worth making, in order to help illustrate what we believe is a considerable problem," the inspectors said.

The overall "no crime" figures for rape show wide variations across the country, rising to almost a third in Kent but falling to as low as 2.4 per cent in Gloucestershire.

Rapists could be caught and convicted more quickly if police and prosecutors made better use of available intelligence, the report said. Confusion over the definition of a "repeat offender" who abuses the same person and a "serial" rapist who targets different victims results in police being unable to produce both local and national pictures of known suspects, the report added.

Interpol record checks in relation to rapes "were not regularly conducted", even though they could help to identify a pattern of offending or make links between crimes in the UK and those which took place abroad.

The report calls for all rape attacks by "strangers" to be treated initially as crime by a serial sex attacker and for the "modus operandi" of attackers to be put on the police national computer.

Dru Sharpling, an Inspector of Constabulary, said: "Whilst the service for victims is getting better, there is absolutely no room for complacency and good intelligence, the right investigative approach and targeting resources effectively are key to preventing rape and catching perpetrators."

Campaign groups said the findings of the report showed police operated on a number of assumptions about which cases would lead to a conviction in court.

Lisa Longstaff, of Women Against Rape, said that the police and Crown Prosecution Service recognised that some women and girls were vulnerable to attack, such as those whom were under 18 or had been out drinking.

But she added: "Their judgements are in practice often still very prejudiced.

The report doesn't address this at all, nor what can be done about it.

"Even those who are specialisttrained focus on weaknesses and inconsistencies in order to drop the case, rather than look for the truth and for how inconsistencies can be explained".

Vera Baird, QC, the former Solicitor General, said the reason rapes are "no crimed" is because of a lack of will on the part of the police to drive a case forward.

She said: "I know from conversations with police and others that there are enormous assumptions about who will, and will not, get a conviction. [Officers] are saying things such as 'she was drunk, she flirted with him'.

"The assumption is that there are a range of circumstances in which there is a big question mark over whether you will get a conviction. The police have hit the buffers before and they think 'what is the point?'" Ms Baird added: "They should be gogetting and they should be looking for the conviction. But there is this kind of stoicism about the inevitably of not getting a conviction and then they don't pursue cases with great vigour."