Good news: government drops plans for rape defendant anonymity

// 27 July 2010

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The coalition government has dropped plans to extend anonymity to rape defendants.

Instead of legislation, the government is reportedly to “negotiate with the Press Complaints Commission to persuade newspapers and websites to allow suspected rapists to remain anonymous”.

Comments From You

nonny mouse // Posted 27 July 2010 at 3:05 pm

So rapists get all of the benefits of anonymity while the government accepts none of the blame.

Jess McCabe // Posted 27 July 2010 at 3:15 pm

@nonny mouse The PCC is a self-regulating body.

Even if it were to put out guidance advising anonymity for those accused of rape, it is an order of magnitude less enforceable than legislation. Naming a victim of sexual assault or rape is contempt of court, versus a slap on the wrists from the PCC? Likewise, the remit of the PCC is newspapers and magazines – whereas legislation would cover any publication anywhere of this information, not just traditional media.

Meanwhile, it is far from given that the PCC would issue such guidance.

cim // Posted 27 July 2010 at 3:35 pm

It’d be great news if it’s true but I don’t actually believe it.

It wouldn’t be surprising if they’d prefer to do it without legislation (the coalition would struggle to get the votes for it, and it’s probably not such a major piece of policy that they’re willing to risk Parliamentary defeat on it), but given the inconsistent messages sent out so far it’s not clear that this is actually what’s going to happen.

They’ve not been consistent so far on when reporting restrictions would apply, who they would apply to, what restrictions would be applied, or why they are necessary. I’m sceptical that this is a change of mind rather than further inconsistency on the question of how they’ll do it.

Kate // Posted 28 July 2010 at 10:05 am

It’s great news. I’m optimistically thinking that this latest effort won’t come to much any way, it looks to be a face saving exercise to hide the fact that they tried to introduce an offensive policy with an embarrassing lack of forethought.

I was also pleased to get a letter from my (Tory) MP before this was announced saying that she would vote against it.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 28 July 2010 at 1:10 pm

This is not ‘good news’ but the coalition male-dominated government cannot be seen to capitulate to a ‘bunch of women demanding no to anonymity for males charged with rape.

Male pride is once again at stake and the struggle over this issue is far from resolved.

Given the Press Complaints Commission is not independent but is administered by males who work within the print media, I have no doubt selective anonymity will be accorded to males who are charged with raping/sexually assaulting female(s).

White ‘respectable’ powerful males will have their identities protected and non-white migrant males will not be accorded the white male privileges.

The male-dominated print media has never been impartial or objective, rather it continues to print articles which are biased and always focused on the tiny number of males who are wrongly charged with rape. Likewise articles concerning the female survivors of mens’ sexual violence are always portrayed as somehow ‘provoking the male/causing this mythical thing called ‘rape’ to happen to them. Because ‘rape’ just happens does it not – no males were involved at all.

This latest ploy of the coalition government is a stealth approach, if male pseudo rights cannot be achieved via legislation, let’s ask the male-dominated and male interested print media to enact anonymity for the ‘poor males’ charged with rape.

So, why should not the media not print anyone’s name who is charged with any criminal offence(s) why are males charged with rape the only ones to be perceived as needing this pseudo right.

What about women who are charged with shop lifting or not paying their television licences? Surely these women should not have their names published until such time as they are convicted. After all there are cases wherein women are wrongly charged with shoplifting/not paying one’s television licence. Surely these women too suffer terrible long-term effects because their good names and reputations have been irreparably damaged due to false claims.

Oh I forget – women must not be accorded the rights and power men accord themselves, because women are not human – that is reserved for ‘man’ and even more so for ‘white powerful men.’

Lola // Posted 29 July 2010 at 1:20 pm

I think that the defendants in rape cases should remain anonymous until they are convicted. If they are guilty, everyone should know their crimes. It is a matter of public safety, just the same as any other criminal would be named.

Of course, if they are proved innocent they should remain anonymous, as they have done no wrong.

I don’t know why they are granted anonymity, it is the same as condoning what they have done.

I don’t know if this will really happen, politicians aren’t known to be the most truthful or reliable of people.

Empty promises are all they seem to make.

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