30/09/2008

Rape Victims 'To Blame' Says Student Survey

Almost half of Northern Ireland students believe women who flirt "only have themselves to blame" if they end up getting raped, a study has revealed.

New research has shown that some 46% of the young people surveyed felt that rape victims who flirted with their attacker are partially or even totally responsible for what happened to them.

Nearly a third (30%) of those polled for the Amnesty International research also said women who wear revealing clothing are also effectively "inviting rapists" to target them.

The statistics are significantly higher than the findings of a UK-wide poll of adults in 2005 which found 34% of people felt women who flirt were to blame with 26% of those asked claiming sexy clothes were a factor.

Amnesty said this was evidence of a worrying female 'self-blame culture' in Northern Ireland.

The PSNI report that the latest crime figures - in May - show that sexual offences in Northern Ireland were up by 1.1% last year while this was counter pointed by an 11.4% decrease in reported rapes.
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Earlier this year it emerged that the level of compensation to UK rape victims was being cut if the victim had "contributed" to the offence on account of alcohol consumption, with one high profile appeal against the cut highlighting the policy.

The victim, who was 25 when she was raped, had been originally told by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) that the standard £11,000 award would be cut to £8,250 because she was drinking before the attack took place.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the decision to cut her award "felt like a slap in the face".

The CICA said that the reason for the reduction was that "the evidence shows that your excessive consumption of alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident".

See: Rape Victim Wins Appeal Over 'Booze' Compensation Cut

See: Rape Victim's 'Model' Recovery

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