A police force has created a series of harrowing videos in a bid to increase conviction rates for rape and serious sexual assaults. One particularly distressing short film, which would have received an 18 certificate in cinemas, highlights how a loss of evidence can compromise a potential court case.
The film, from Leicestershire Police, follows the story of a woman who has been raped by her husband and is based on testimony from a police interview. It opens with a scene showing a fictional rape and makes for an uncomfortable five minutes of viewing. The woman is shown running a bath and deleting messages on her phone; meanwhile, the man walks free from prison.
The professionally made film is designed to reiterate the importance of the force's three-point message when it comes to rape: "Don't wash; preserve all available evidence; contact the police as soon as possible."
Leicestershire Police estimates that just a fifth of rapes are reported to them and just a tenth of these end in a conviction, the BBC reported. Nearly half of rapists are related to their victims, the force also said.
The video is part of the force's "All Is Not Lost" campaign, which aims to hammer home the importance of reporting rape as soon as possible, which enables more evidence to be preserved. A second, as-yet-unreleased, film will depict the events leading up to the woman's attack.
Leicestershire Police has also released further videos of interviews with rape victims and another about the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). SARCs, which can be found around the country, provide services to those who have experienced rape or sexual assault, irrespective of whether he or she has reported it to the police.
One video features a woman recounting her rape by a friend's partner, who was jailed for eight years in large part because she reported the crime immediately. “I was raped in my own home by someone I considered as a friend,” she said. “Before his car was even barely out of my street I was on the phone to the police.
“The first thing you want to do is get in a bath and rid yourself of anything to do with your attacker, but by doing that you are letting them keep that control.” Victims should be assured that it won't be their word against their attacker's – the police will believe them, she added.
Andrew Baxter, deputy chief crown prosecutor for the East Midlands, echoed this: “I would urge victims to come forward and tell the police exactly what has happened. Regardless of how long ago an incident took place, whilst we cannot guarantee to charge every allegation of rape, we can promise that we will take the allegation seriously and the victim will be provided with as much support as possible.”
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.
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