Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Britain pays women to lie about rape, but denies compensation for men destroyed by rape lies

Britain pays crime victims, including women who claim they've been raped, substantial sums of money as "compensation."  The alleged rapes need not have involved violence to trigger the payments.  The compensation system has been subjected to rampant fraud, and women have falsely cried rape in order to collect. In one well-publicized case, a false accuser was compensated substantial monies for her lie.

But it was affirmed yesterday: Britain does not compensate men for the harm they suffer after being falsely accused, no matter how egregious. The double-standard is stark, and morally grotesque.  It tells us much about how our society regards the victims of false rape claims.

After winning the right in court to apply for the same sort of monetary compensation as other crime victims receive, Clive Bishop, who lost his taxi business and was shunned by the community as a result of a false rape claim that sent his false accuser to jail for ten months, has been denied compensation for his ordeal by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) because he was not the victim of a violent crime.  "It's just ripped the heart out of me and the last three-and-a-half years have been a total nightmare," Mr. Bishop said.  See the story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/england/somerset/10465915.stm

Earlier this year, Mr. Bishop told False Rape Society: "It is not about the money for me it is a recognition of the horrific consequences it brings."  He added: ". . . sexual offences that are alleged are the only crime where innocent people are arrested locked up without any evidence to back up what someone has alleged. . . . Don't forget while I was arrested for a crime that never occurred and locked up, my freedom and liberty denied, she was in a comfortable suite being befriended and pandered.  My emotions were ignored and I was arrested, judged and convicted without any compassion or evidence. Believe me when I say that I am still suffering!" 

Who Is Covered?

The CICA, funded by the Ministry of Justice, pays victims of “violent crimes” according to an established scheme of tariffs. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (2008) sets forth the standard amounts paid for each category of crime. The Scheme is found here.  A payment will be made if the alleged violent crime was more likely than not to have occurred. (Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (2008) ¶20) There is no necessity to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard for conviction in UK criminal courts.

While the Compensation Scheme is designed to cover crimes of violence, an exception is made for non-forcible rape and other sexual crimes not involving violence. Payments are made for mental injury, including “temporary mental anxiety,” suffered by non-consenting victims of sexual offenses. (Criminal Injuries Compensation (2008) ¶9.)  Under the compensation scheme, non-consensual penile penetration warrants UK £11,000. (Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (2008) Page 34.) Greater sums are allotted depending on the severity of the injury inflicted. A non-penetrative sexual physical act “over the clothing” warrants UK £1000. (Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (2008) Page 34.) This, presumably, includes a single instance of inappropriate touching.

In the UK during 2008-2009, 1,938 payments were made to "victims" of rape for a total of £30,197,619.  See here: http://www.equalities.gov.uk/pdf/Stern_Review_of_Rape_Reporting_1FINAL.pdf

 Who Is Not Covered?

The UK does not compensate men who were falsely accused of rape, no matter how terrible their victimization. To verify this, I previously wrote to the CICA and asked if a false rape claim would be covered, noting that such claims often have the effect of mentally (not to mention financially) destroying the falsely accused. We received a prompt and professional response that included the following:

"Under the terms of our scheme unfortunately this would not be covered. Under the terms of our scheme for eligibility, applicants need to be the victim of a violent crime."

It is important to underscore the terrible double-standard here: the victim of a single instance of a sexual act over the clothing is entitled to compensation, but a man falsely accused of rape who is arrested and jailed for weeks, months or even years, who is subjected to untold mental agonies, who loses his friends, the esteem of his community, his job, his business, and his good name, is entitled to nothing

The victimization of men falsely accused of rape, no matter how egregious their injuries, is regarded less worthy of society’s protection than the victimization of non-forcible rape victims, no matter how slight their injuries. 

Also not covered are the vast majority of boys who are statutorily raped by adult women. This is because victims of sexual offenses are not covered if they “consented in fact.” (Criminal Injuries Compensation (2008) ¶9(c).) This effectively rules out virtually all claims involving the statutory rape of a teen boy by an adult woman because the boy is typically a willing participant. The fact that the law has determined that boys are incapable of giving valid consent to engage in sexual acts with an adult is of no import to the CICA.

The Compensation Scheme Exacerbates the False Rape Epidemic

The premise of those who assert women don’t lie about rape is that women have no incentive to lie, and that the criminal ordeal a rape accuser is put through outweighs any possible benefit from lying. This, of course, is not true, and the Compensation Scheme indisputably furnishes a monetary incentive to lie about rape. It is well to note two things: (1) the compensation paid for sexual offenses is scarcely insignificant; and (2) women lie about rape for far less rational reasons. In Professor Eugene Kanin’s landmark study of a mid-size Midwestern city over the course of nine years, he found that 41 percent of all rape claims were not just false but actually recanted. Two of the three principal motivations for false claims identified by Kanin are the following: women lie to obtain attention/sympathy, and for revenge.  If significant numbers of women are willing to lie about rape simply to get attention or revenge, is it not all the more plausible that some women will lie for the more rational reason of obtaining a significant sum of money? The question scarcely survives its statement.

Remember Grant Bowers?  He was just an ordinary teenager when a 20-year-old woman named Sarah-Jane Hillard decided his life didn't mean as much as the £7,500 she would collect from the CICA if she claimed he raped her.  She was caught, but Grant's life was destroyed.  "I don't know why she did it but her lies have ruined my life," he said. Grant had to move out of his hometown because of threats against him. People were kicking the door of his flat in and shouting "rapist" though the letterbox. Someone offered a reward to learn his whereabouts.  He was chased through town with a knife.  Is it surprising that for a time, he was physically sick with worry and constantly teary?  All because a woman wanted to collect money from the CICA.  See here: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2009/08/woman-destroys-teens-life-with-false.html

The problem of fraud in the Compensation Scheme has been evident for years. In 2001, the chief executive of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board blamed the growth in false criminal claims in general on a compensation culture. A CICA report published that year highlighted rampant fraud in the compensation system: “Among the [fraudulent] cases is that of a woman who has been asked to repay £7,500 after falsely claiming she was raped by a tramp. Last year, a court found that Natalie Knighting, a 21-year-old with three children, had made up the story. She was jailed for six months. Ms Knighting had won compensation from the CICA for the second time. She had been awarded the same amount of compensation for sexual assault as a child. So far, the authority has been unable to recover any money from her.” See here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/britain-now-the-worlds-compensation-capital-with-payouts-set-to-keep-rising-689105.html
 
But, of course, the government denies that the Compensation Scheme breeds false rape claims even though the CICA itself has acknowledged rampant fraud as a result of this compensation culture, and even though we know significant numbers of women lie about rape for far less rational reasons.
 
In a 2007 debate in the House of Lords, Lord Campbell-Savours questioned the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on this subject:
 
“My Lords, is it possible that one reason for high rates of false allegations and low rates of conviction for rape is that a minority—I stress that—of women make false allegations in order to win compensation which, in the case of rape, is £11,000? Why do we not move to the German system, where the state does not pay and where compensation follows civil action, as against the state paying? Surely the trauma of rape requires not state-funded windfalls but counselling services that really help victims.”
 
The Under-Secretary rejected the question out of hand:
 
“My Lords, a victim of rape should get both compensation and counselling and support. It is not either/or; it is both/and. As the noble Lord will know, it is very important that we make sure that where convictions are made, people can get some kind of recompense for the trauma and injury that they may have received. As for the reasons why people make false allegations, I do not agree that one of the primary objectives is to get £11,000. There may be very serious reasons why people do that, which we need to consider.”
 
See here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldhansrd/text/70515-0001.htm
 
While suggesting that the government should at least consider the reasons for false rape allegations, the Under-Secretary stuck her head in the sand and flatly refused to entertain the notion that women would lie about rape for anything as crass as money. It would have to be a more “serious” reason than that.
 
If someone wanted to do a study of the false rape problem in the UK, he could use the CICA’s Compensation Scheme as a microcosm: the government enables women to lie about rape and then wonders why the attrition rate for rape is so abysmal.  And no matter how terribly men suffer from false rape claims, the government thinks they deserve nothing.