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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 12:13 GMT
Woman's rape report goes missing
A woman who says she spent three years trying to get a rape allegation dealt with by police has learned that the file on her case has gone missing.

The woman said the attack happened in the 1990s in Warwickshire. She said she later reported it to Derbyshire Police as she was living in Derby at the time.

Derbyshire Police said they sent their report to Warwickshire Police but they say there is no record of it.

Warwickshire Police said the rape would be investigated if she re-reported it.

Both forces said they took allegations of rape "extremely seriously".

The case was highlighted after a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate which stated more effort should be made to improve rape prosecution rates.

Protection

The woman, now 36, said she was raped 15 years ago by a male friend while she was living in Derby.

The man then left the country and she felt "foolish" so decided not to report it.

But 10 years later, the man contacted her saying he was back and she decided to report it to police in 2000.

"I wanted protection so he didn't just turn up on the doorstep. I also wanted to protect other people as... if someone reports somebody, a lot of others come out of the woodwork to say 'he had a go at me'," she said.

The woman said she phoned the police more than 20 times over the course of three years trying to find out what was happening.

She said she was passed between the two forces, being told her inquiry would be chased and somebody would call her back.

All that effort and trauma of giving a statement...it's very disappointing
Rape victim

In a statement, Derbyshire Police said: "As is normal practice, the force in which an alleged incident took place is responsible for actually carrying out an investigation.

"In this particular instance Derbyshire Constabulary took an initial statement which was then transferred to Warwickshire Police to investigate, as that is where the alleged incident took place.

A spokeswoman from Warwickshire Police said: "We have no record of the complaint but we take allegations of this nature very seriously."

Police added no investigation had taken place as the report had never reached them.

Disappointment

She added officers would be happy to investigate the allegations if the woman gave another statement.

The woman said she was not surprised at the response, but disappointed.

"All that effort and trauma of giving a statement, and my partner gave a statement too," she said.

"The time we took to give those statements and to just not know what happened to them is very disappointing.

"They're saying they take rape allegations seriously but it's just a platitude.

"What they need are systems that take it seriously and one person dealing with it who gets back to the victim."


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