Keir Starmer says Rape investigations 'undermined by belief that false accusations are rife'

(145 Posts)
NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 06:47:25

This bit makes me a little worried

"Following completion of the CPS study, false allegation cases involving rape and domestic violence will no longer routinely be referred to the DPP. "These cases will now be handled by [CPS] areas rather than headquarters, but we will continue to have an assurance regime where reports are sent in every six months," Starmer said."

When they were all being referred to Keir's department I felt more comfortable; I don't know exactly why but I have trust in him.

This bit is very interesting I thought

Of 159 suspects linked to allegedly false claims referred to the CPS between January 2011 and May 2012, 92% were women. Nearly half of them were 21 or under. One surprise was that in 38% of those investigations, the initial complaint of rape or domestic violence was made by someone other than the suspect. Among those under 18 it was 50% and often involved a parent

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 06:48:00
FreedomOfTheTess Wed 13-Mar-13 08:00:10

A story on the report is also on BBC.

Another interesting fact, is that 18% of those who do make those rare false allegations, have mental health problems.

So while I could never condone false allegations, it appears almost a fifth of those who do, have underlying problems which contribute to their actions.

It is good we have some solid figures on this.

The only thing that concerns me, is people who attempt to play down the false allegation issue, because it is so rare. As Keir Starmer says in the BBC article, "it's serious, but rare."

I sympathise with anyone who has been falsely accused of rape, because very often, people think 'there is no without fire'. This is even sometimes the case when the accuser has been convicted of making a false allegation smoke

Something else that concerned me about the BBC article, is that when there are PROVEN false claims, it still remains on the man's record until he applies for it to be taken off, and even then it can take months to be done. I don't like that all.

By all means keep it on record if someone hasn't been prosecuted for lack of evidence, but those where it has been PROVEN to be a false allegation, it should be removed immediately.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 09:04:15

Just read that BBC one, and it is interesting the different perspectives on the report. The guardian one seems to be much more about how rare it is. The BBC one is much more about how devistatingit is for anyone falsly accused. It doesn't quote the numbers convicted of rape or DV to give perspective to the number of people convicted of false accusations.

JacqueslePeacock Wed 13-Mar-13 09:48:42

The slant of the BBC piece is bloody awful. It misses the whole point of what Keir Starmer has said.

JacqueslePeacock Wed 13-Mar-13 09:51:46

In fact I'm almost tempted to complain to the BBC for perpetuating the exact problem Keir Starmer is talking about. 35 a month works out at about 0.6%. It's absolutely tiny compared to the horrendous figures for rape and domestic violence. And yet that is what the BBC has chosen to focus on.

JacqueslePeacock Wed 13-Mar-13 09:54:02

Sorry, TWO a month! 35 is in the entire 17-month period. I really need to proofread before posting. If it were 35 a month it might actually be worthy of the BBC article - although even then it would be a lot lower than the number of actual rapes.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 10:23:10

It is crap isn't it. I am going to look at the actual report to see how bad the misrepresentation is...

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 10:27:13

Press release is here

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 10:28:01

And imvho the BBC piece has really missed the point.

FreedomOfTheTess Wed 13-Mar-13 10:58:00

Is it so wrong for the BBC to point out how devastating it is to be falsely accused of rape?

After all the article does clearly state that Starmer says, "it's rare."

Not all rape articles have to feature the majority, sometimes it's important to speak out for the minority too, which is in this case is falsely accused men.

Perhaps it doesn't bother others so much, but I hate to see ANYONE falsely accused of anything, even if in the grand scheme of things it's only a tiny minority.

FreedomOfTheTess Wed 13-Mar-13 10:58:54

Perhaps I'm just not a proper feminist though, because I care about "the mens" too!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I don't think it's necessarily wrong to point out that it is dreadful to be falsely accused of anything rape. The problem is that the amount of attention paid to this is utterly disproportionate to the scale of false accusations and it has serious consequences for how society in general treats rape victims. The fact is that a tiny minority of reports of rape are false or malicious. A really tiny minority. There just isn't the need for so much focus on it.

We don't see regular newspaper articles about how dreadful it is to be accused of burglary and how it ruins lives etc. There is widespread condemnation of burglars and no one seems overly concerned about how this affects the falsely accused.

NoTimeForS Wed 13-Mar-13 11:13:18

Rule of journalism = put the main point of the story first.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 13-Mar-13 11:14:16

no it is not wrong to point out how terrible it is to be accused falsely of rape and the damage it can do

but stick to the what the report is about it is not suggesting that is is not devastating it is saying that it is a crime that very rarely thankfully happens and it is taken seriously.

yet it gets a huge amount of publicity in some areas of the press this hardly helps those victims who feel they will not be believed as so many women lie, the truth is very very few women do lie. again it is about women being manipulative, sneaky lying to get someone back blah blah blah when it is about these women being liars they are not this way because they are women it is because of who they are not what sex they are

FreudiansSlipper Wed 13-Mar-13 11:16:10

do lie about being raped....

slug Wed 13-Mar-13 11:21:34

Funny isn't it how so much emphasis is placed on the reputation of men who may be falsely accused of rape yet how little is placed on the reputation of women who are branded as liars for making claims that are not investigated properly/dismissed/ignored/never get as far as court.

Anyone would think that a man's reputation in society far outweighed a woman's right to justice.

And, yes, reports of a study that showed that false accusations of any other crime were actually very rare would be unlikely to take great care to stress how terrible false accusations are.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 11:25:32

Five Live are also concentrating on how bad it is to be falsely accused - with lots of case stories and a very unpleasant man talking about how Keir Starmer's figures are all wrong and how irresponsible he is to release them.

I do find it disconcerting that the press release is 'false rape and dv accusations are perhaps far rarer than previously thought' with figures to illustrate this.

Yet, the BBC reports 'yes but false rape allegations are devastating.' Yes, well, being a victim of rape/dv is pretty bloody devastating too - and we still have a devastatingly low reporting & conviction rate.

JuliaScurr Wed 13-Mar-13 11:35:10

crap reporting by BBC

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 11:51:48

This report is NOT about how devistating it is to men falsly accused (and I absolutely agree that it is devastating). I have read all of it now. It is about the number of false allegations (not all are accusations - some of the people who reported being raped didn't identify their 'attacker'). The reasons/origins of those allegations, and what the CPS response should be.

Keir acknowledges how devistating it is, maybe realising that otherwise it would be all about the menz, but that is in the introduction only (and the press release).

Didn't work did it? When some of the coverage does seem to focus on the devistation of those few falsly accused.

Bramshott Wed 13-Mar-13 12:36:48

God it's depressing isn't it - main focus of the press release is around busting "the damaging myths and stereotypes" around false accusations of rape, and here's the BBC trotting out those same damaging myths and stereotypes sad.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 13:58:23

Yep - the more I think about it the angrier I become.

The report is Very interesting. Very easy to read. I would really recommend reading it. It is linked to in the press release that I put a clicky to upthread

TunipTheVegedude Wed 13-Mar-13 14:00:55

Oh well. It's the same BBC that covered up Jimmy Savile for decades. Misogyny still alive and well there I see.

teatrolley Wed 13-Mar-13 15:48:43

Of course media reporting has no influence on this widespread and deeply harnful misconception. The daily mail has a tiny article buried halfway down it's homepage. Funny how any instance of false accusation gets a massive space as the headline article.

Greythorne Wed 13-Mar-13 16:05:11

The BBC should be ashamed for perpetuating exactly what Starmer sets out to explain.

I feel sorry for Starmer, he seems like a genuinely good man and for his words to be repakaged like this must be unbelieveably frustrating.

ScrambledSmegs Wed 13-Mar-13 16:06:08

Damn the BBC. It's a Newsbeat report too, so aimed at young people (ie teenagers etc). I suppose a version of that will be broadcast on Radio 1 etc.

So I made a complaint. Expect to get a response in about a months time, fobbing me off.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 16:14:00

I have a lot of respect for Keir Starmer.

Less so for the BBC now... and I have always spoken up supporting the bbc in principle - license fee etc.

SqueakyCleanNameChange Wed 13-Mar-13 16:22:36

Totally agree. Starmer came across very well in his MN webchat last year, and it's great to see him still being a good egg, but I'm hugely disappointed by the BBC.

mungotracy Wed 13-Mar-13 16:27:23

Its all a bit odd. Firstly thats actually quite a lot of false allegations any way you look at it. I think dismissing it is worrying...... you don't dismiss a crime because its not as common as other crimes...... especially when you are deliberately limiting the prosecutions... arguably one could potentially try all failed rape prosecutions on this basis.....we don't for good reason......... I find it very disturbing that over 80% of those found to have accused falsely have NO mental health problems indeed. Yes there needs to be better investigation of actual rape.....but there also needs to be equality and transparency if we want the issue sorted. We as women need to feel confident in coming forward however if we want men to support that they cannot be hung out to dry on mere rumour, which is the current state of affairs.

Any man accused of this crime has had sentence passed before he goes to court. Anyone who works in a school regardless of gender will be aware of how often younger children suggest that they will report a teacher did something inappropriate if they don't get their way. Precisely this happened on the Educating Essex documentary for those who don't believe press reports you can watch it happen. Fortunately the school had CCTV.....provig the lie and the teacher took no action.

It seems blatantly obvious that if you provide people with an ability to accuse someone publically but retain their own anonimity that the facility will be abused. Especially if the accusation causes immediate negative impact.

I think the very idea of making such a false accusation would be far more horrifying to the older generation than the younger. SO maybe it is not shocking that we see it more prevalently from the young. There needs to be education here on both sides...

However I suspect the false accussations that the DPP claims are rare would be severely curtailed if anonimity was provided to both sides as justice would demand.

The bit that especially pisses me off in the BBC report is this bit - the second line of their report! -

"It's the first time details for England and Wales have been compiled, showing how common the problem is."

Totally comes across as meaning "this is a common problem", when the whole thrust of the actual report is that this is NOT a common problem. And then it goes on to spend most of the article talking about that very small number of cases... I am tempted to complain too, as they are perpetuating the same myths the report set out to clear up.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 17:03:34

I have spent most of the day being fucking furious with the BBC.

How could they manage to describe 'rare' as 'common'? I'm not surprised they've got a cultural problem there to sort out of they put that kind of shit on the Newsround website.

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 13-Mar-13 17:04:22

For years the CPS has said how good their works are for these victims and when people have questioned them they have defended their policies. Suddenly now it has changed. It seems a pity it took the celebrity Saville stuff to make them decide they should listen.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 17:07:43

Thank you all those who complained to the BBC. The word 'common' they had at the top of the story first thing this morning has been changed to 'unusual'.

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 13-Mar-13 17:09:00

Squeaky - I didn't think he came across well at all.

Having said which I don't think it's him, he seems to try.

EldritchCleavage Wed 13-Mar-13 17:09:54

There are very good reasons why accused people have to be named, and I just don't see why those accused of sex crimes should be an exception to that. The exception for victims of sex crimes is a reflection of the cruel stigma they face.

Children aren't generally named at all now, whether as victims or witnesses in relation to any crime. Should all defendants in such cases get anonymity too, to even the score?

Justice is supposed to be public. We need to know who the accused are, not least because we might want to come forward as complainants or (defence) witnesses.

Having unnamed defendants is a rather frightening thought for me-it smacks of a police state, with people facing charges in secret. Beware going down that road.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 17:20:40

I've just put in a complaint to the BBC as well. For what it's worth. I hope Keir Starmer is suitably pissed off with them.

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 13-Mar-13 17:22:30

LineRunner what do you mean?

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 17:24:19

Which bit, SirEdmund? I appear to be on a roll.

RatPants Wed 13-Mar-13 17:25:20

Glad someone else picked up on this; I read the BBC article this morning and thought it was the kind of slant which would do more harm than good.

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 13-Mar-13 17:46:49

Line smile

I think they've been crap about how they've dealt with this. They are not asking questions that need asking.

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 13-Mar-13 17:56:01

Both CPS and BBC, I mean.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 18:02:55

I think Keir Starmer and the CPS were trying to do the right thing (he's been grilled on MN twice now about these issues) but the report was very badly handled by the BBC.

Perhaps Keir Starmer will now feel just a tiny amount of the frustration with the mainstream media that we often feel.

Fillyjonk75 Wed 13-Mar-13 18:09:35

I even felt that on the Today programme this morning the stats were misrepresented. I was shouting "Put it in context" at the radio. I don't know what the motive would be for misrepresenting Starmer but I thought they were trying to make it come across as if the opposite were true.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 18:12:09

Maybe the mainsteam media can't actually believe and accept it's a rare occurrence, because they have so firmly bought into the myths and stereotypes. It simply does not compute.

Like a mass cognitive dissonance.

One of my friends was falsely accused, and he'd have been one of the first to have pointed out how rare it was and how much worse being raped would be! It's disgusting the way they've misrepresented this.

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 13-Mar-13 18:18:35

Maybe he will.

The CPS have been defending their policies for years. Now we're all supposedto roll on our backs and have our tummies scratched like nice little victims. Fuck that.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 18:21:01

I hope MNHQ will invite Keir Starmer on again so we can ask him about the report and its reception by the media, especially by the very troubled and troubling BBC.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 18:21:22

So, a google search for BBC Newsbeat brings this clickable link up:

Two people a month are being prosecuted for making false...

Clicking on it leads to this article: False Rape Claims "Devastating" say wrongly accused

I am honestly not sure when I have ever seen a more dubious slant on an story! The BBC are completely misrepresenting it. I'm furious about this.

How do I complain?

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 18:23:48

I complained to the BBC via this online link

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 13-Mar-13 18:50:32

Huffington post seem to have done quite well. Even the metro wasn't bad. The BBC have really balls'ed this one up. Did they employ someone who couldn't read to write it, or someone with an agenda.

Norma Recently the BBC have had a few articles written by people who don't appear to understand the subject matter, especially wrt reports. sad The standards have definitely dropped.

Trekkie Wed 13-Mar-13 19:22:47

That newsbeat article is just awful.

One of the bits that stood out for me was "Supt Helen Chamberlain, who leads investigators in Nottinghamshire, says they will always believe the story they are told by a victim, but warns every detail will be investigated."

That is a really ominous quote, very much a sense of discouraging people from reporting these crimes.

I have just complained about the newsbeat article, and highlighted the issue on facebook, too. I am appalled by such blatent disregard for the facts and obvious bias.

JacqueslePeacock Wed 13-Mar-13 19:48:53

I've just come back to this. The more I think about it the more awful it is. Keir Starmer tries to point out that people focus more on false rape accusations than on (the many times more common) actual cases of rape. The BBC reports this as "false rape accusations are dreadful". It's just fucking unbelievable. I am starting to agree with Linerunner that it must be mass cognitive dissonance.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Mar-13 20:24:16

It looks as though the BBC news office is full of people who simply have that "false allegations are outrageous and terrible and it's the women who make them who spoil it for everyone else" head on and when confronted with a press release that says something else, simply can't interpret it except through that prism.

Very frightening and I am fucking pissed off that my licence fee is being used to promote rape myths by unthinking journalists - or worse, thinking journalists with a misogynist agenda.

JacqueslePeacock Wed 13-Mar-13 20:46:56

I have just complained using the link provided upthread, so thanks for that. Perhaps if we all complain they might feel obliged to listen?

I must point out that the BBC online complaints system is a complete pain in the arse though. It has taken me 8 attempts to submit my complaint. I suspect they don't actually want us to complain.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 20:55:14

I've complained online using Linerunner's link too. It's a bit long-winded, but not too much of a pita.

I would urge anyone who feels strongly about this to complain - shoddy reporting is one thing, but I think this was blatant misrepresentation.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 21:09:53

Look, I know it's not much, but my MP (whom I have contacted) is prepared to write a letter to Keir Starmer asking what the CPS thinks about the BBC's reporting of this.

Would anybody like to give me a suggested paragraph that they would like to have included.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 21:30:57

Line, that's awfully good of your mp. I've pm'd you what I wrote to the bbc, if you want to use any of it, go ahead. It's a bit waffly

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Mar-13 21:51:49

I told the BBC that they're using licence-payer's money to promote rape myths.


I had a bit of a "correspondence" with one of their people about a report they did a few months ago about a woman whose husband murdered her. He was a former councillor and eveyrone said how marvellous he was - that was the BBC angle.

They seem to be run by fucking idiots.

vesuvia Wed 13-Mar-13 21:52:46

I think some very good points have been made in the letter of complaint sent to the BBC by End Violence Against Women Coalition, Rape Crisis England & Wales, Eaves, Equality Now and Object.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 22:06:17

vesuvia thanks for that link

Greythorne Wed 13-Mar-13 22:16:59

Just made a complaint.

Thanks for the link.

Trekkie Wed 13-Mar-13 22:17:53

That is a good letter.

The complaints are mounting (is on MN front page as well) surely they must react.

Well no actually it's still there.

I can't believe they put "It's the first time details for England and Wales have been compiled, showing how common the problem is." when the whole point was it was rare and when they had it pointed out they amended to "It's the first time details for England and Wales have been compiled, showing how unusual the problem is." which doens't even make sense.

these people are supposed to be journalists? Don't they care that what they have written was firstly the opposite to the truth, and then that their amendment is incomprehensible in the context?

What actually is the matter with them? It's pathetic.

The more I read the article the more angry I get.

Young people will be reading that - it's aimed at young people - and rape myths will be reinforced - that woman and girls lie all the time, and that you should think twice before reporting a rape as the police will rip you to shreds.

was that their intention? Can it be accidental?

Greythorne Wed 13-Mar-13 22:23:26


Yes, yes

Trekkie Wed 13-Mar-13 22:24:09

I have just noticed that the links to the right of teh article are all to previous newsbeat articles reporting on people being done for falsely reporting rape.

Not a single link to a conviction for rape, reports about rape stats, support contacts for if you have been raped or anything.

I am coming around to the idea that it is not a mistake.
The "threat" from teh police to victims "be warned" is the icing on the cake.

Trekkie Wed 13-Mar-13 22:28:50

Oh sorry they do link to rape crisis.
Also the false allegations support organisation. Which seems to be all about child abuse so why it is linked to the story is anyone's guess.

Trekkie Wed 13-Mar-13 22:31:36

Am livid.
Radio1 / newsbeat are aimed at our teens and young people.

Thinking about it I have spotted items on main BBC news before about VAW and porn and stuff which have made me go hmm and they have usually been on newsbeat.

Is it cos it's for the younger generation and they are like well down on the sexual violence and all that.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 22:32:04

The fact that they've done this while still reeling from the effects of the Saville case beggars belief.

Trekkie Wed 13-Mar-13 22:39:52

Sorry on a rant now

here is the link to the interview with the police person quoted in teh article


The article says this:

"Supt Helen Chamberlain, who leads investigators in Nottinghamshire, says they will always believe the story they are told by a victim, but warns every detail will be investigated."

Now, there is a cut in the clip. But I was suprised (to say the least) to read that, a police officer giving a "warning" to victims. And in the clip on the site, she does not say that. They have interpreted what she said in the context of what is looking like their belief that women and girls lie about rape.

the article is biased and if I were Helen Chamberlain I would be having very strong words.

NoTimeForS Wed 13-Mar-13 23:01:49

I complained too. What a dreadful article.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 23:05:36

So the BBC has twisted what a female Police Superintendent has said.

They really are shits to do this.

ScrambledSmegs Wed 13-Mar-13 23:47:19

Is the BBC news website regulated by the PCC? I feel the need to complain to an independent regulator as it looks like they're going to go with fobbing off, as predicted. That response to End Violence Against Women's letter is making my blood boil.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 23:47:20

Oh, look at this

Seems Declan Harvey was looking for a victim of a false rape allegation last October. Could this be a personal agenda?

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 23:51:04

Yes it looks like the PCC deals with online content in this kind of case.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 23:53:01

running bloody hell

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 14-Mar-13 00:34:25

WTF is the BBC up to?

Darkesteyes Thu 14-Mar-13 00:43:17

Bloody hell What the fuck are they playing at.

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 14-Mar-13 05:20:00

Did they employ someone who couldn't read to write it, or someone with an agenda

That was the question I asked upthread, and it looks like someone with an agenda really. Doesn't it?

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 14-Mar-13 05:25:03

The links at the bottom of that interview with the police officer are all to stories of false claims too angry

And from what she says, you could equally say that she is reassuring the victim that all the facts will be fully investigated.

Greythorne Thu 14-Mar-13 08:28:49

This is really important. A man who runs a special interest group advocating for individuals falsely accused is writing articles about rape stats.

WTF is going on at the BBC?

Well spotted, linerunner.

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 14-Mar-13 09:14:32

Greythorne - I don't think he runs faso. I think he posted on there, rather like media requests get posted on here (and there are other journalists who have posted asking for similar things on the faso site)


NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 14-Mar-13 13:08:53

That response from the beeb to evaw is pathetic.

The journalist who wrote the newsbeat article has obviously been trying to write an article about how bad false accusations for months, and has used this report as a (poor) excuse.

Greythorne Thu 14-Mar-13 14:00:34

Oh, yes, ok, sorry, I see it's a media request and not something the site owners have posted.


But the issue remains that Harvey clearly had an agenda.

Fucking BBC.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Mar-13 14:10:43

Hi all - just popping in to let you know that we have a guest blog on this topic today, from Holly Dustin of the End Violence Against Women coalition.

Do have a look and let us know what you think?

We've also got interesting posts from Mumsnet Bloggers Glosswitch, My Elegant Gathering of White Snows, and A Hot Bath Won't Cure It.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 14-Mar-13 14:20:23

Obsessing about false allegations of rape rather than rape itself is roughly akin to standing in the salon of theTtitanic as it sinks worrying about a speck on the wallpaper, so minute in scale is the one problem compared with the other.
people sometimes tell lies. Not women, but people. On the whole, when it comes to maing reports to the police, they don't. When they do, there are safeguards in place to protect the innocent. Now let's move on and worry about the real problem.

Bramshott Thu 14-Mar-13 14:35:28

So the BBC's angle is that their report yesterday was "a story commissioned to specifically examine what it was like to be falsely accused of rape" which JUST HAPPENED to come out on the same day as the CPS report hmm?

Greythorne Thu 14-Mar-13 14:45:22

Sorry, I have missed the BBC reply, where is that?

Bramshott Thu 14-Mar-13 14:48:18

It's on the EVAW page if you scroll down to the end of their letter to the BBC.

Bramshott Thu 14-Mar-13 14:50:06

I'm still reeling from the fact that the BBC decided including 'on our facebook page Gina described false accusations as “disgusting”' in their official reply was a helpful and grown-up contribution to the discussion hmm.

Greythorne Thu 14-Mar-13 15:00:06

The BBC report gives whole new meaning to the term disingenuous.


TunipTheVegedude Thu 14-Mar-13 15:07:34

The BBC response is insulting and the Eaves reply to it excellent.

Yes, the BBC response is seriously inadequate and very clearly shows that they just do not care. In fact, they seem to think that having perpetuated rape myths and gotten Facebook comments that confirm their success in doing so is A Good Thing. hmm

LineRunner Thu 14-Mar-13 15:45:32

Greythorne it was runningforthebusinheels who did the major detective work. She's very switched on!

LineRunner Thu 14-Mar-13 15:47:13

KateMumsnet Many thanks for the links.

That's a pathetic response, and the comments they've chosen as a response are just the icing on the cake angry

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 14-Mar-13 18:10:04

Oh dear. Don't go and read the comments on the Huffington Post article about the beeb article.

Depressing as hell

Trekkie Thu 14-Mar-13 18:27:16

I wonder how the police officer who was interviewed has reacted to her video about assuring victims they will be believed and that their cases would be thoroughly investigated, being "reinterpreted" by newbeat as a warning to rape victims.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 14-Mar-13 18:52:44

I love the remark in the BBC reply about the need to show "two sides to the issue". Following that logic we'd hear from the rape complainant then the rapist telling us all why it was such a jolly good idea. No doubt we have that to look forward to, with the fuckwits in charge currently at the BBC.
And I pay my licence fee for this!

Trekkie Thu 14-Mar-13 19:41:20

Nothing's going to happen about this, is it, they've just fobbed everyone off. The story is still there, still with its weird wording and misrepresentation of what the police spokesperson said.

Reading the comments on the huffington post and having seen similar many times including on here, it is clear that rape myths are absolutely believed by at least some people - and surveys show that can be extended to most people not just those commenting on websites.

So a report comes out to try and dispel that myth, citing false accusations as "very rare".

The BBC response to this is to run an article stating that false accusations are "very common" and focusing on them, implying that anonimity for accused would be a good thing and misrepresenting a police spokesperson by saying she is issuing a warning to victims.

It's just not on, is it? It's not just me. Why haven't they done anything? For a body like the BBC to do this - condoning and encouraging the myth that women lie - on the very day a report comes out from the CPS to try and dispel that myth - seriously it's outrageous.

And the fact it is still there after everything is just a kick in the teeth for victims of rape and DV everywhere.

HotheadPaisan Thu 14-Mar-13 19:44:06

Have there been any headlines saying:

'Head of CPS says false rape claims are 'very rare''?

LineRunner Thu 14-Mar-13 19:45:16

I do think the BBC will regret this.

They had a chance to put things right, and they didn't.

Things will come around, they always do in the end.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 14-Mar-13 19:48:40

Let's look at this objectively. The DPP produces a report saying he has examined a sample of evidence and found that false allegations are very rare. A media organisation responds with a report about the seriousness of false allegations. An intelligent 10 year old could spot the agenda there. Do these people think we're fucking stupid?

HotheadPaisan Thu 14-Mar-13 20:56:43

And of those cases! 38% were not made by the woman themselves, another 20% were by women with MH problems and a lot of those didn't even name anyone.

So, we should write our own headlines then start a chat or In the News thread comparing and contrasting.

JacqueslePeacock Thu 14-Mar-13 21:10:58

oh God. I just read the comments on the Huffington Post. sad

LineRunner Thu 14-Mar-13 21:44:04

The Huffington Post's home page right now has 'Why I Am Glad I Was Spanked As A Child' [with a rattan cane] as a lead article.


Treats Thu 14-Mar-13 21:48:02

Did anyone hear the Victoria Derbyshire phone in on Five Live about this yesterday. Same angle. She twice spoke to callers who had personal experience of being falsely accused of rape (one was the mother of a boy who had been accused) and interviewed a Notts policewoman (possibly the same one referred to above) and expressly linked it to the publication of the CPS report.

I was furious that she didn't invite any contributions from people who had been raped to give their side. When the mother of the boy who had been accused said that she wanted to go into schools to tell girls about the devastation that false accusations could cause she didn't challenge her at all. I mean, it's not as if there's enough discouragement from reporting rape already, is there?

Here's the listen again link: The interview with the mother is in the last 20 minutes of the programme.

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 14-Mar-13 23:25:51

The number of false allegations (the ones that were suspected false and referred to the CPS but never prosecuted included) kinda pales into insignificance when compared with the 10,000 tweeters that Lord McAlpine was originally going to sue for falsley naming him as the abuser as a result of the BBC incompetence.

NoTimeForS Fri 15-Mar-13 01:02:40

The Metro coveted the story accurately today. Shame on the BBC.

NoTimeForS Fri 15-Mar-13 01:03:11


JacqueslePeacock Fri 15-Mar-13 09:25:34

Oh, Treats, my DH told me he'd heard something awful about it on Five Live yesterday - that must have been it. I missed it unfortunately. More complaints to the BBC...?

runningforthebusinheels Fri 15-Mar-13 11:23:15

Yes, I listened to the 5Live report - I thought it was a thoroughly irresponsible angle to take on this.

Here's how The Metro covered the story - a much more accurate respresentation of Starmer's report.

The bias and agenda of the BBC is obvious.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 15-Mar-13 12:27:04

What can we do about this?

It's really obvious that the BBC has an agenda to misinform the public about this - they've been told by listeners, women's groups etc. about the facts and yet they're still using our licence money to promote their mad agenda.

This is the response I got back from them:

We passed your concerns to Rod McKenzie, Editor, Newsbeat who has responded with the following:

“This was a story commissioned to specifically examine what it was like to be falsely accused of rape. To help contextualise the story we reported on a 17 month study carried out by the Crown Prosecution Service which set out to establish how common such false rape allegations were. In the past we have published many stories highlighting the issues surrounding rape and domestic violence, specifically targeted at our core audience of 15 to 24 year olds. Please find links for two such stories below:

On this occasion we chose to look at those young people – usually men – who are occasionally wrongly accused. We know from our audience research that among this group concern over this issue is commonplace – we sought to contextualise this anxiety. I do not agree we misrepresented the study, or published an article that might somehow put people off reporting such serious crimes. However, having considered feedback I agree we were not clear enough in our wording. For clarity we have replaced a word in the second sentence from ‘common’ to ‘unusual’.

In the fourth line of our story we quote the Director of Public Prosecutions Kier Starmer who says false rape allegations are ‘serious but rare’. In the accompanying video he makes the same statement within the first fifty seconds. Whilst our story hears from a young man who says he was wrongly accused, we ensure that rape victims are given a voice by running quotes from Dianne Whitfield from Rape Crisis. We also feature a video which contains a Nottinghamshire Police spokeswoman who says their starting point is always to believe allegations of serious sexual assault. She goes on to explain how thoroughly they investigate both sides of any allegation. Far from downplaying the seriousness of rape we finish our article by publishing the phone numbers of advice lines for people who believe they may have been the victim of rape or domestic violence.

On the day this story was broadcast we received a big response from our young audience, and we openly invited feedback on this challenging topic. Whilst some people did say our reporting of false accusations was damaging to real rape victims, on our Social Networking sites false accusations were described as “disgusting”, and one young man told us that he felt the bigger problem was that these claims make life harder for real rape victims to be taken seriously. On Twitter another young male listener told us "Allegations of rape not only waste police time but wreck the lives of those accused! And another wrote... "My 23 year old nephew was recently accused of rape. He then killed himself. The girl did it again to another guy."

Our view is that all aspects of this story merit coverage and debate and we will continue to do so."

Thank you again for taking the trouble to get in touch with us.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints

Nothing about how they're going to balance the report with coverage of the real issue - the prevalence of rape and how much of a mountain it is compared to the molehill they've chosen to focus on.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 15-Mar-13 12:31:52

For clarity we have replaced a word in the second sentence from ‘common’ to ‘unusual’.

Dear Rod McKenzie.

Can you honestly, whilst keeping a straight face, ask me to take that sentence seriously??

Bramshott Fri 15-Mar-13 12:42:31

I really wonder what the BBC were doing/thinking. Either:

(a) they had an article already commissioned and ready to go about how devastating it is to be falsely accused of rape and they decided to shoehorn in a few references to the CPS report and rush it out on that day because it seemed 'current' - shoddy journalism at best, and fairly hard to believe IMHO


(b) they read the CPS report and press release and deliberately decided to write and run an article devoted to exactly the kind of damaging myths the report we trying to get rid of - much more likely, and MUCH more worrying

The e-mail indicates that they're trying to persuade us it's (a) and that they're just inept; but it seems to me that it's much more likely to be (b) and that there's someone in Newsbeat with a malicious and misogynist agenda sad

amalur Fri 15-Mar-13 12:52:18

Apologies if this is posted twice, but my last post vanished.
I complained to the BBC using the link above. I am guessing that I will get the same answer but the more complaints they get I am hoping the more embarassed they will be at having to peddle the same excuses.

HoleyGhost Fri 15-Mar-13 13:17:10

Bloody hell. This is beyond grim of the bbc

HotheadPaisan Fri 15-Mar-13 13:36:49

What is wrong with the word 'rare'. It is rare, full stop. What is the matter with these people.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 15-Mar-13 16:22:51

You know what else pisses me off? Their nonsense about "contextualising the story".

They only "contextualise" when they want. I had an e-mail exchange with one of their editors a while ago, where I was actually complaining about their failure to contextualise a domestic violence murder and this is how it went:

Me: This report concentrated on what a great guy this homicidal
maniac was. It had his picture up front (not that of his victim) and it
interviewed elected representatives in North Norfolk who ignored and
minimised the fact that he was a violent abuser. There is obviously a
history of hidden domestic violence here - normal men don't just shoot their
wives - which is totally ignored by the elected representatives of Cromer
and the reporter who wrote this article. Between 2 and 3 women a week have been murdered in the UK by their partners or ex partners this year and thissort of reporting makes it possible - it plays into the idea that normal men
just suddenly run amok and murder their (unworthy, ignorable) wives,
girlfriends and exes. It brushes over the really serious problem of
domestic violence and ignores it. 1 in 4 women are subjected to DV and
we're mostly licence-fee payers - why aren't you reporting domestic violence
and male violence against women (the biggest and most under-reported
category) properly? You have a duty to do so.

Her: Most of the initial information which emerged around the story (which was still unfolding at the point we started to write it) was connected to Mr Johnson because he was a public figure. This was also why there was a picture of him available in the first instance. As the reporting of the story developed, more detail emerged about Mrs Johnson and we have included this. In talking to those who knew the individuals involved we simply reported what they said.

We continue to work on the story about the tragic death of two individuals and will continue to add information as appropriate.

Me: "In talking to those who knew the individuals involved we simply reported what they said."

I take your point, but I think the BBC has a duty to make an effort to talk to people who might actually talk some sense. I understand the family of the murdered woman were probably too traumatised to talk to the BBC, but without fail, men who murder their wives, have had a back-history of hidden Domestic Violence and it is just not good enough for a publicly-funded broadcaster like yourselves to ignore the context in which these news stories happen - you could have talked to experts in family-annihilators or domestic abuse. Time and time again when I read about men murdering their wives and/ or children, I read minimisation and empathy with the murderer and excuses for male violence and I read apologia for men's entitlement to not have their feelings so badly hurt or provoked, that they end up murdering women and children - as if killing is not a choice they make, it's something they are driven to.

1 in 4 women live with chronic domestic violence, that is the context in which these murders happen. If a black boy or man is murdered by a white boy or man, you don't ignore the context of racism and racial violence, so why do you systematically ignore the really serious context of male violence against women? 2-3 women a week are murdered by their male partners; this is a real thing; women on the whole don't murder other women and they don't murder their male partners on the scale that men murder women. Why is the BBC not acknowledging this fact in its reporting? If it were a racist or an anti-Semitic murder, you would acknowledge the context, so why not when it is male violence against women?

I guess my point is, is that if you as a broadcaster were properly aware of the context in which this murder happened, your first report would not have been so inappropriate because you would have understood without having to be told, that this is yet another domestic violence murder. This is about properly informing the public, properly contextualising, ensuring that when you report horrific stories like this, you as a public-service broadcaster enlighten and inform instead of hiding context and in doing so, being part of the problem instead of part of the solution. The media has a role to play in tackling crimes like this, not just in reporting them; its role is to uncover the context and to make connections between each of the murders of the 2-3 women who were killed last week, the week before, the week before that and who will be killed next week, the week after and the week after that, by men with whom they have or have had intimate relationships. If you don't play the role of acknowledging the context, then what you are doing, is ensuring that these murders keep happening while people pretend there is no connection - the same way people used to pretend there was no connection between individual black men being murdered by white men. That's not what the BBC should be doing in my opinion and I really do think you should take some steps to educate yourself as an organisation about male violence against women the same way I'm sure you do about racist, anti-Semitic and violence against other marginalised groups so that the first reports are not always so badly-done.

Her: We will, of course continue to cover this story as new information emerges. It is not appropriate for us to speculate about any extent of domestic violence when no such evidence exists. It is simply untrue so far as I can establish to say that where a man kills his wife there is ‘without fail’ a back history of hidden domestic violence. Our job is to report the facts and context as they emerge and to analyse them without speculating or making assumptions.

Me: All right, the phrase should be "almost without fail" then.

The fact is, when murders like this happen, they happen in a context which you are refusing to acknowledge in a way you don't refuse to acknowledge when it is racist violence. The problem with your statement about reporting the facts and context "as they emerge", is that the BBC, along with the rest of the media, very rarely report the context once it emerges - that of the chronic level of domestic violence; the news story has moved on by then and been replaced by another context-less murder. If it is your job to report the context as well as the facts, then you're simply not doing it well enough at the moment.

At that point, she stopped replying. grin

Sorry to c&p all that, it's quite long, but I think it shows how much bollocks the excuse of "contextualising" is. They're telling one listener complaining about the lack of context that doing context isn't their job and now they're telling all the other listeners that promoting rape myths is in fact, "context". How over-powering is the smell of bullshit here?

AbigailAdams Fri 15-Mar-13 17:07:23

Their "context" is their misogynistic agenda hmm. And what is the "context" in this instant?? The context of perpetuating myths amongst teenage boys is obviously more important than reassuring them (and teenage girls) that false accusations are rare. And of course more important than actually dealing with the issue of teenage rape.

I complained yesterday and haven't heard anything.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 15-Mar-13 17:54:29

I haven't heard from the bbc either, but I'm assuming I'll get the same shit response as above.

Don't know if it will come to anything, but I put in a complaint to the pcc as well - as I think inaccurate misrepresentation of the cps report int his way is a breach of section 1 of the code of conduct. We shall see.

Trekkie Sat 16-Mar-13 13:12:25

any updates?

the item is still linked from newsbeat homepage

ScrambledSmegs Sat 16-Mar-13 14:33:16

I've had the same response as Fastidia. I think I'm actually angrier than I was before.

They really are a bunch of idiots.

LineRunner Sat 16-Mar-13 15:40:53

Yes, I've had identical shit response from the BBC.

I hope everyone takes their complaint further up the food chain.

FastidiaBlueberry Sat 16-Mar-13 18:14:43

How so we do that?

LineRunner Sat 16-Mar-13 18:18:16

I have got my MP to agree to write to Keir Starmer about the misrepresentation of the report in the BBC's 'context'.

That's one route.

Also Press Complaints Commission.

And is Tony Hall still the DG of the BBC?

JacqueslePeacock Sat 16-Mar-13 19:59:14

Wow Linerunner that's great work.

I think Hall is due to start as DG shortly.

LineRunner Sat 16-Mar-13 20:12:09

Thanks, Jacques.

I know people often dismiss the 'I'm writing to my MP' route, but:

An MP's letters are 'VIP tracked' by public bodies and the MP ought to receive a reply within 5 working days;

A decent MP will send the crap reply to the constituent and ask, how would you like me to reply to this piece of crap?

...and keep following it up. With more letters. Sometimes with questions in Parliament or in committees, Early Day Motions and Adjourment Debates.

Also journalists track this kind of thing. Private Eye are keen on exposing hypocrisy in public bodies, for example.

ArmyOfPenguins Sat 16-Mar-13 20:18:42

I've made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. Encouraging others to do likewise.

ArmyOfPenguins Sat 16-Mar-13 20:20:15

Yes, someone write to Private Eye! I don't feel I could word it right. Might have a go ...

SirEdmundFrillary Sat 16-Mar-13 20:52:56

I've sent an email to the BBC and a letter. A Letter (!) No reply to either.

SirEdmundFrillary Sat 16-Mar-13 20:54:14

I doubt the PCC will help, but they should.

SirEdmundFrillary Sat 16-Mar-13 21:28:43

I only heard R4 Today Prog and was struck by the slant of their reporting, twice - the first time with John Humphreys and a couple of days later by Sarah Montague. It was noticeable - they're not worried about getting stuck in when it suits them.

The Keir Starmer love-in is all very well but he should be asked the questions that need asking.

LineRunner Sun 17-Mar-13 00:04:01

He was - he was asked the questions on here.

I had the same reply last night (or rather I saw it last night, have been poorly all weekend) and I'm still furious. I'm glad I found this thread again; I want to know where else to complain and I knew you lot would know where to go.

Dozer Wed 20-Mar-13 21:01:45

The reply makes it even worse. Have they learned nothing?

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 20-Mar-13 22:39:04

I am a little late on the bandwagon, but have just seen this. I sent a complaint to the BBC as well. The angle of the reporting is apalling!

addressio Fri 22-Mar-13 15:32:10

Complain to the BBC about what?

SirEdmundFrillary Fri 22-Mar-13 15:59:23

LineRunner, I agree with you, I'm not arguing with you, I'm arguing with them.

I thought what they said was good but they've been saying good things for a long time and it hasn't affected anything, so why should this one now? Is what I'm asking.

They're talking about this on Feedback. I don't know if I've missed it as I've just tuned in but it'll be available on the website afterwards.

It's available now, the newsbeat story is the first item.

Chris Smith came out with the same old flannel about having planned the story for ages and insisted it was a balanced piece.

SirEdmundFrillary Mon 25-Mar-13 14:47:14

My point was this:

He's been DPP since 2008. He said, this year, that in 2009 they could have prosecuted some of the Saville cases and seems to have conceded there was a slant towards skepticism towards the child victims.

It's good that has been accepted but it's taken a celebrity interest to get them to listen when some people have been questioning them for some time and they've vigorously defended the policies they now say they've scrapped (according to their press release).

I don't think it's him, as a person, I agree he seems to be interested. But the CPS has, at least since 2000, issued a lot of stuff about how much they do to help this. Why should this one be different? I hope it will. I'm waiting to see.

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