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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

October-16-06

UK Proposes Changes in Rape Laws

The United Kingdom is considering new legislation that would make it easier to convict rapists, even if the victim was intoxicated at the time of the rape. The proposed law is an effort to address “non-stranger” rapes, also known as date rapes, where establishing consent and an intoxicated person’s ability to grant consent is crucial, Times Online reports. According to Solicitor General Mike O’Brien, the law is also necessary to target rapists who deliberately get their victims drunk in order to force sex upon them, according to This Is London.

Currently, UK law holds that an intoxicated woman is able to give consent as long as she is still conscious. Alcohol consumption is a major impediment to the successful prosecution of a rapist; according to The Observer, the Crown Prosecution Service often advises women who were drunk at the time of their rape not to bring their cases to court because they have little chance of being believed by a jury. Only 12 percent of reported rape cases actually go to court, and about 5 percent of alleged rapists are convicted in the UK, Times Online reports.

Media Resources: Times Online 10/15/06; The Observer 10/15/06; The Independent 10/16/06; This Is London 10/15/06


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