‘More support vital to victims of rape’

‘More support vital to victims of rape’

MM 2.5.10 STORY AILSA SUSAN GEORGE OF EBBW VALE WHO HAS SET UP HER OWN RAPE COUNSELLING WEBSITE TO HELP OTHER VICTIMS (3902222)

MM 2.5.10 STORY AILSA SUSAN GEORGE OF EBBW VALE WHO HAS SET UP HER OWN RAPE COUNSELLING WEBSITE TO HELP OTHER VICTIMS (3902234)

MM 2.5.10 STORY AILSA SUSAN GEORGE OF EBBW VALE WHO HAS SET UP HER OWN RAPE COUNSELLING WEBSITE TO HELP OTHER VICTIMS (3902224)

MM 2.5.10 STORY AILSA SUSAN GEORGE OF EBBW VALE WHO HAS SET UP HER OWN RAPE COUNSELLING WEBSITE TO HELP OTHER VICTIMS (3902226)

MM 2.5.10 STORY AILSA SUSAN GEORGE OF EBBW VALE WHO HAS SET UP HER OWN RAPE COUNSELLING WEBSITE TO HELP OTHER VICTIMS (3902228)

MM 2.5.10 STORY AILSA SUSAN GEORGE OF EBBW VALE WHO HAS SET UP HER OWN RAPE COUNSELLING WEBSITE TO HELP OTHER VICTIMS (3902230)

MM 2.5.10 STORY AILSA SUSAN GEORGE OF EBBW VALE WHO HAS SET UP HER OWN RAPE COUNSELLING WEBSITE TO HELP OTHER VICTIMS (3902232)

First published in News

AS a rape victim, Susan George says her journey through the police and judicial system – ending with her attacker being jailed – was a good one.

But she fears others are failed by lack of support and understanding of ordeals they have faced, and must face if a case reaches court.

She wants more support for victims and alleged victims to minimise the trauma of what can, she said, feel like a never-ending nightmare.

“I had very good support from Gwent Police during and after the court process and can’t understand why that isn’t the case for everyone,” said Ms George, who has waived her anonymity and has spoken about rape from a victim’s perspective at seminars for Gwent and Dyfed Powys Police forces, and supported other victims.

“My experience was really good, and it troubles me to think I might have been an exception. The prime minister and the justice minister ought to be lobbied about this issue. It must be taken seriously.”

Ms George’s attacker, ex-boyfriend Michael Glyn Thomas, is serving an indeterminate sentence, after being found guilty in January 2009 of multiple charges, including seven counts of rape on three women.

She believes victims of alleged rape should have access to a designated support worker, not a police officer, but someone aware of the psychological effects, to reduce the need to repeat the details and minimise further distress.

She believes such support should be provided during and after the court process, whatever the outcome – and people who have been raped and resolved personal issues arising from it could be designated workers, though this could not be told to those they are supporting.

“I think these things are do-able, and need to be implemented quickly,” said Ms George. "Everyone should expect the same high-quality support."

“Everyone should expect the same high-quality support, wherever they live, whatever their circumstances. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Ms George also wants to see issues such as rape and domestic abuse discussed in schools.

“It would be controversial but maybe in 20 years we would see rape and domestic abuse reduced,” she said.

She added that many victims and alleged victims have been helped by the Onyx Unit, Gwent Police’s specialist unit for handling serious sexual and violent crimes, and other forces could learn from its work.

Ms George has spoken out following the death of Tracey Shelvey, from Rochdale, who fell from a car park roof days after the acquittal of a man accused of raping her and several other women.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating and Greater Manchester’s PCC, Tony Lloyd, wants an urgent review of how victims and witnesses are treated.

Comments (1)

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1:49pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Nic2000 says...

The conviction rate for sexual offences in the UK and Gwent are ridiculously low in the region of 6% - 8% and it is those that are report it is the very tip of the iceberg. Women are on a daily basis being failed by the Criminal Justice System. They are made to feel like lairs or that they played in role in the crime itself. I don't dispute that things have improved but there is still a huge step change in attitude and the legal system needs to reflect this. There some excellent support services out there such as New Pathways but like all support services they are struggling to maintain provision.

The media including this paper also have a role to play in the needed attitudinal change. They are quick to report false allegations or give more coverage to other crimes. The police have some very good trained staff that are directly involved with rape or sexual assault, however, there is still some institutional ideas around women (in particular) blaming the victim.

I don't want to come over negative and I am please that justice has been done for the victim of crime in this case., but it is the exception to the rule.
The conviction rate for sexual offences in the UK and Gwent are ridiculously low in the region of 6% - 8% and it is those that are report it is the very tip of the iceberg. Women are on a daily basis being failed by the Criminal Justice System. They are made to feel like lairs or that they played in role in the crime itself. I don't dispute that things have improved but there is still a huge step change in attitude and the legal system needs to reflect this. There some excellent support services out there such as New Pathways but like all support services they are struggling to maintain provision. The media including this paper also have a role to play in the needed attitudinal change. They are quick to report false allegations or give more coverage to other crimes. The police have some very good trained staff that are directly involved with rape or sexual assault, however, there is still some institutional ideas around women (in particular) blaming the victim. I don't want to come over negative and I am please that justice has been done for the victim of crime in this case., but it is the exception to the rule. Nic2000
  • Score: 2

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