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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 February 2008, 08:26 GMT
Mock rape trial to show failings
Women  Against Rape poster
5.7% of rapes recorded in England and Wales lead to conviction
A mock trial is being staged by campaigners to highlight how they say rape victims are treated by police and the criminal justice system.

The event by Women Against Rape (War) will use testimonies of women.

War said judges, politicians and the CPS would face a number of "charges" such as aiding and abetting rapists and failing in their duty of care to women.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, said too many cases had been rejected in the past.

The event in Camden, north London, will mark War's 30th anniversary.

War was set up to combat what it describes as the injustices faced by rape victims.

I felt like I really had to convince the police, every step of the way, I think I was met with scepticism
Rape victim Danielle

It held its first public "trial" in Trafalgar Square in 1977 and will repeat the event because it says that, although times have changed, attitudes have not altered enough.

A War spokesman said: "Women and children are still put on trial or blamed for their own rape, discouraged from reporting, disbelieved and even accused of lying and imprisoned."

Women will speak publicly, describing how they have been treated after reporting a rape.

Convictions

One rape victim is Danielle who is an American living in London.

She was raped in 2007 by a man who said she agreed to have sex with him.

Danielle maintains she was too drunk to consent but said she felt the police automatically took the perpetrator's side.

"It was worse than being raped," she said. "I felt like I really had to convince the police, every step of the way. I think I was met with scepticism, actually."

They met the victim, realised that she was an extraordinarily compelling witness, took the case to trial and got a conviction
Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald

According to the Ministry of Justice, between April 2004 and March 2005, 5.7% of rapes recorded in England and Wales resulted in a conviction.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, said too many cases had been rejected in the past but there was now a greater emphasis on making sure there were trials.

He said: "I met with some prosecutors recently who told me they were considering a case which on the face of it looked extremely weak.

"They met the victim, realised that she was an extraordinarily compelling witness, took the case to trial and got a conviction."

"Now if they hadn't spoken to her in advance I think they would have rejected that case as one that couldn't be won."

'Summonses'

According to an ICM poll for Amnesty in 2005, 33% of British people believe a woman is at least partially responsible for rape if she was wearing sexy clothes, flirting or drinking.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "I'm afraid it [this attitude] appears endemic out there. Those are the very people that appear on juries which are listening to these cases."

WAR said during the mock trial women would "shame" those who are "never held to account", and "who keep pretending things are getting better while doing nothing to effect real change".

It has issued "summonses" to all those being tried - including government ministers.



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