Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Men must prove a woman said 'yes' to sex under new rape guidance

152569841.jpg

New guidelines will be issued to the police regarding rape allegations in the UK, with the onus to now be placed upon suspects to prove that the woman consented to sex instead of proving that she said ‘no’.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service said that women should not be punished if they were incapacitated due to drink or drugs or could not verbally agree to sex because of shock or fear.

"For too long society has blamed rape victims for confusing the issue of consent - by drinking or dressing provocatively for example - but it is not they who are confused, it is society itself and we must challenge that," commented Saunders at the first National Crown Prosecution Service/Police Conference on Rape Investigations and Prosecutions, which took place yesterday in London. "Consent to sexual activity is not a grey area - in law it is clearly defined and must be given fully and freely. It is not a crime to drink, but it is a crime for a rapist to target someone who is no longer capable of consenting to sex though drink."

Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders

Rape Crisis reports that roughly 85,000 women a year are raped in England and Wales, but the latest figures show that just 5,670 attacks were reported to the police and of the 2,910 cases which went to court, only 1,070 led to a conviction.

90% of rape victims are said to know their attacker. Speaking further about the new approach which will be rolled out to police and prosecutors, Saunders added: “We want police and prosecutors to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue - how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly?"

The guidelines also say that the ability to consent to sex should also be questioned where the complainant has mental health problems, learning difficulties or was asleep or unconscious at the time of the alleged attack.

"These tools take us well beyond the old saying 'no means no' – it is now well established that many rape victims freeze rather than fight as a protective and coping mechanism," said Saunders.

Read more: 'Will we ever stamp out victim-blaming in cases of sexual assault?'

Related

The Hunting Ground.PNG

New documentary suggests rape is an epidemic in US universities

rexfeatures_1221742p.jpg

2014's most powerful and provocative longreads

ByeF88zIQAIZvgM.jpg

Over 100 women prosecuted for false rape allegations, claims charity

Comments

More

Scientists create artificial womb that could save premature babies

The new research is groundbreaking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Apr 2017

First Dates viewers in tears over cancer survivor’s “perfect ending”

Sarah, who had her leg amputated at 16, just wanted someone to carry her into the sea

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Apr 2017

11 craft beers to make you feel summery whatever the weather

Bottles and cans to lift your spirits (beers)

by Amy Swales
26 Apr 2017

If your name is on this list, you’re probably a Viking descendant

Does the blood of those fierce Scandinavian warriors course through your veins?

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Apr 2017

#hummuscrisis is happening and people don’t know how to feel

There’s a supermarket shortage of your favourite chickpea dip

by Amy Swales
26 Apr 2017

All the Disney live-action adaptations in the pipeline

A release date for the live-action remake of The Lion King has just been confirmed

26 Apr 2017

These are the UK's best paying companies

Where to apply to get the money rolling in.

by Hayley Spencer
26 Apr 2017

This woman's surprising message about sharing has gone viral

“Just say no. You don’t have to say anything else”

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Apr 2017

Here’s how to put your gin habit to good use

Mother’s ruin is charity’s gain

by Amy Swales
25 Apr 2017

This new WhatsApp update will finally let you “unsend” messages

*Monkey covering eyes emoji*

by Moya Crockett
25 Apr 2017