UK: Rape Cases Resulting in Fewer Convictions, More Cautions
Government figures in the United Kingdom show that the number of offenders cautioned for rape is increasing, as is the number of rape reports, but that convictions are becoming rarer. In 1994, only 19 people received cautions for rape, but in 2004 that number had climbed to 40, a significant number when considered alongside only 791 convictions that year, according to Reuters. A caution can be given by a senior police officer when there is an admission of guilt; the offender is put on the sex offender register, and the caution shows up on his criminal record.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) claims that cautions are given only in rare circumstances, most frequently to juvenile offenders, in cases that date back several decades, or when a victim wants an admission of guilt but does not want to pursue a trial, reports BBC. However, women’s groups are outraged by the increasing number of cautions, and called for more transparency about when cautions were used. Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women’s Aid, told the Times that “it is worrying that cautioning for rape is something that is not discussed, explored or explained. We need to be told the exact circumstances in which cautions are given.”
The news about cautioning comes just a few weeks after an announcement that the government would be exploring changes in the way rape cases are handled in order to raise the conviction rate. Reuters reports that currently, only one in 20 rape cases results in a conviction, as opposed to one in three thirty years ago. Amnesty International UK applauded the government’s effort to improve handling of rape cases, but cautioned that the government should support “an integrated strategy to end all types of violence against women in Britain – including, for instance, prevention through education and public-awareness schemes and better victim support.”
Media Resources: BBC 4/10/06; Reuters 4/10/06; Times 4/10/06; Amnesty International United Kingdom, 3/29/06
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .