Rape Review Plans on Hold

Following an intervention by Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman to review current rape laws, a Home Office Minister has today admitted that they have to go back to the drawing board.

Ms Harmen pulled out at the last minute because she wants the review to put more emphasis on the wellfare of women by toughening up the legislative proposals. She is standing in for the Prime Minister Gordon Brown while he is on holiday, however she refused to sign off the announcement that had been scheduled for today.

It is understood that Ms Harman wants more drastic changes to the law, such as more convictions secured by police and targets for prosecuters.

The Police Minister David Hanson has today admitted that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before the government will be able to unveil its plans; it could be weeks before the review is complete.

Mr Hanson was in Manchester paying a visit to a sexual assault referral centre at St Mary’s Hospital, which has been completed recently. He explained that the Equalities Office of Ms Harman, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office need to have more discussions before a decision is reached. He is hoping that they will come to an agreement on rape legislation by September or October this year.

Campaigners of women’s rights feel that there is a culture of slow responses and disbelief from the police, which discourages rape victims from coming forward and can lead to vital evidence being lost. Police need more training to ensure that rape is treated like the serious crime that it is.

It has also been suggested that juries need more guidance on the matter; research has shown that many think that if a woman has been drinking or does not do everything to fight the attacker off, then she had been complicit. These attitudes should be changed.

£3.2 million funding has been secured to fund eight more sexual assult centres around the country, similar to the model in Manchester. The Police Minister described this as a “very positive announcement” and said that Harriet Harman has shown her support for this decision.

This subject is particularly important to London escorts , who have been rape targets on occassion. Most of them are also supporting the decision to toughen up the legislation on rape.