Police warn of risks of making fake rape claims

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POLICE are warning that people who make false allegations of rape face imprisonment - following a number of cases in Nottinghamshire where victims have been found to have been lying.

Superintendent Helen Chamberlain, Head of Nottinghamshire Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We fully investigate all reports of rape and sexual assault but lately we have experienced some cases where our enquiries have shown the victim has either invented a story or regretted their sexual activity and claimed to have been attacked.

“There may be a host of reasons why someone would make this type of thing up - they could be in a difficult place in their personal lives, it could be cry for help for other emotional or psychological problems or they could need an excuse to explain their actions. We are sensitive to this, however false reports can have a detrimental effect on genuine victims.

“When an initial report comes in, resources are allocated to secure the scene of the crime, forensic searches and examinations are conducted and house-to-house enquiries are carried out. Extra patrols are allocated to reassure communities.

“Specially-trained officers are utilised to investigate reports of rape and sexual assault and this often requires hours of time spent with the victim, speaking to potential witnesses, and viewing CCTV. We also link in with other services such as Victim Support, to ensure victims are offered the appropriate measures to help them cope.”

She said on average a rape investigation costs around £80,000, which can reach up to £250,000 if cases go to court.

Supt Chamberlain added: “The impact that a false report can have on those who have genuinely gone through the experience is significant. It not only takes valuable resources away from helping the real victims of crime, but it can also undermine the trauma they have really had to endure.

“Genuine rape victims first have to come to terms with what has happened, and we find they often question whether people will believe them. It can be an extremely traumatic and distressing time.

“A number of significant jail sentences have handed down to offenders convicted of rape and sexual assault. Their victims have shown significant courage in not only coming forward, but in some cases having to face the person who violated them in court.

“I would urge those thinking of making a false allegation of rape or sexual assault to think twice; you could not only end up with a criminal record but you should spare a thought for those true victims who have actually been through such a distressing ordeal.”