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to ask you if you feel that people accused of sex crimes should have their identities protected?

(81 Posts)
SoleSource Wed 20-Feb-13 12:02:40

This debate was featured on the This Morning programme.

55% of the phone in poll voted yes.
45% voted no.

I would have voted yes because false allegations can destroy lives.

Purple2012 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:07:53

Accused - yes. Convicted - no.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 20-Feb-13 12:09:06

No. I am not necessarily averse to all defendants having anonymity, but I don't think those accused of sex crimes should be singled out in that way. It implies that someone is more likely to be falsely accused of a sex crime than any other crime, which is not true.

megandraper Wed 20-Feb-13 12:16:00

I understand why people would say 'yes' - but one worry I have is that it is common for victims of serial rapists/abusers to begin coming forward when they hear about an accusation - if identities are kept secret, then that would not happen, and would make it harder to convict serial attackers.

SoleSource Wed 20-Feb-13 12:19:20

I feel that if the Police feel the accused may be a serial attacker then the right to anonymity should be wavered.

twofingerstoGideon Wed 20-Feb-13 12:19:49

No. I'm with OptimisticPessimist on this one.

thebody Wed 20-Feb-13 12:21:38

Agree with Sole...

kim147 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:23:01

It would be interesting to know how many victims have come forward as a result of hearing someone has been accused of a sex crime.

sneezingwakesthebaby Wed 20-Feb-13 12:23:15

I would vote no.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 20-Feb-13 12:28:27

I would vote no.

I believe the number of convictions would fall dramatically.
Just imagine if Worboys was still driving around in his cab raping women. It is not exactly easy to convict rapists as things stand.

If we are talking about introducing defendant anonymity we have to do it for all crimes.

Sunnywithshowers Wed 20-Feb-13 12:30:56

I would vote no too.

Yep, I'm with kim and tunip.

False allegations of crime can destroy lives, but two wrongs don't make a right. It doesn't make logical sense to me. It's also worth noting false allegations are a tiny, tiny proportion.

CoalDustWoman Wed 20-Feb-13 12:32:01

No. And I can't believe it's been raised as an issue again.

False accusations of rape are no more prevalent than for other crimes and I believe less so when mistaken identities are excluded.

ItsintheBag Wed 20-Feb-13 12:35:03

Yes those accused should be protected.

But once found guilty should have none.Though I often wonder about their families also victims.

Abra1d Wed 20-Feb-13 12:38:18

Accused should be protected. Convicted, not.

The implications for an innocent man are just devastating. Not just him, his innocent family, too.

TroublesomeEx Wed 20-Feb-13 12:38:26

I don't know.

I would want to vote yes because of the effect on the accused family as much as anything. It would be bad enough as the partner or children of the accused as it is without having the entire country speculating and gossiping about you. And it is different to other crimes, people generally aren't as interested in other crimes as much as they are with sex crimes.

But then I wouldn't want it to have a negative impact on the already low conviction rates of rape, etc.

It would be so much easier for everyone if no one ever made it harder by falsely accusing - then there would be no doubt.

And it would be even easier if all people behaved like decent and civilised human beings and didn't commit sex crimes in the first place. sad

TroublesomeEx Wed 20-Feb-13 12:38:50

But convicted should not be protected at all.

TheChaoGoesMu Wed 20-Feb-13 12:42:47

Accused should be protected.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 20-Feb-13 12:44:41

FolkGirl, even if there were no false accusations ever, some would be invented.
Any rapist who gets off - and that's a lot of rapists - can go around saying he was falsely accused.

That's true, tunip.

An awful lot of people plead not guilty, and I think with every crime, you'll get people (family and friends perhaps) who just can't get their minds around the fact the person they've known and loved did it.

kim147 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:47:13

Do you think that applies to all accused or those who someone has made an allegation against?

If the police catch someone using DNA evidence or CCTV, should that person's name be made public but if someone just accuses someone, should that person be allowed anonymity?

From what I understand, the actual level of false allegations are very low (and I know someone on here posted about the effect of withdrawing an allegation had on her and her family (and she was the victim)).

And rapists are hard enough to catch and convict.

eskthepesk Wed 20-Feb-13 12:48:17

I would say that they should have their identities protected up to when they are formally charged with a criminal offence. My DH was accused with no substance, just malice. It was terrible for us. DH's job involves contact with children, so he may have lost it and been unemployable and I was afraid that SS would get involved and make him move out or threaten us with care proceedings.

As it was it was very quickly shown to be entirely malicious - we know the accuser they were not prosecuted. While saying that a few people got to know about it and while they seem outwardly supportive, I think they still look at DH suspiciously. We were at the local park with my sister and her best friend (who sis had told) recently. DH attempted to help her young DD who was stuck at the top of a slide and she basically screamed at him. It was horrible and I could see the doubt in her face. If he had been accused of theft and it was shown to be malicious I expect people would just have dismissed it, but this sort of crime seems to lead people to assume guilt.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 20-Feb-13 12:48:52

Accused yes completely. If innocent it can ruin many peoples lives.

Convicted - most definitely not.

I don't see how there can be any debate if we want to keep the right of innocence until proven guilty.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 20-Feb-13 12:53:42

I would vote no.

I posted this on another thread on this topic:

Helena Kennedy writes very eloquently on this subject. There are very good reasons why defendants in rape cases are not granted anonymity.

First, no other defendant is granted anonymity. Leading human rights lawyer Harriet Wistrich says:

"Allowing defendants in rape cases, but not those charged with other offences, to remain anonymous would be discriminatory because it would apply almost exclusively to men."

From this article.

It goes on to say Alleged terrorists don't get anonymity, so let's not make rape a special case. Defendants already get quite enough compared to their victims.

Secondly, corroboration is very important when it comes to convicting serial sex offenders. Both in getting a conviction against them in a court, and in getting victims to come forward and report crimes against them.

From the same article: Women who had not previously had the confidence to report a rape were often inspired to do so after seeing media reports naming and picturing the same man, experts said, and allowing the accused to remain anonymous would prevent such breakthroughs.

They also expressed concern that the proposal, which is intended to protect men from the damaging impact of "false allegations", gave the impression that women frequently lie about rape and could put them off coming forward, hitting the already low conviction rate.

Someone else said on the same thread "If this had been in force when John worboys's first victims came forward, he would still be driving around in his cab raping women."

TunipTheVegedude Wed 20-Feb-13 12:54:50

Thing is, if this came in, the main beneficiaries would be the large number of unconvicted actual rapists, plus a tiny number of falsely accused.

So we're talking about stacking things further against the victims and in favour of the rapists, to benefit the innocent falsely accused despite them being so small in number. Obviously it is awful for them..... but it is awful for the victims as well.

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