Legislative shortfall in sexual offence cases

Marina Hasan, Aaron Dippie, Caitlyn Dugdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article highlights the failings of the criminal justice system in offering support to the victims of sexual violence and keeping the focus particularly on male victims of sexual abuse. The article also investigates the overall experiences of all victims and the current procedures and policies in place. Men are treated as non-deserving victims, because the definition of rape under the sexual offences act 2003 defines rape as “penetration with penis” (Sexual Offences Act, 2003; Weare, 2017) and doesn’t take male victims into account. Male victims are also not treated the same way as female victims, however, both experience rape myths such as males not being ‘man enough’ and females with vulnerabilities, such as alcohol consumption, not being believed (Rumney, 2008; Stanko & Hohl, 2018). Furthermore, it is increasingly difficult to bring forward rape charges by the crown prosecution service and the victims withdrawal rate in 2019-20 remains at 57%, indicating failings within CJS (George & Ferguson, 2021). Moreover, the negative attitudes of officers dealing with rape cases and officers abusing their powers to sexually assault victims raised serious questions around the systematic failure within the CJS. There is a lack of support for rape victims and the impact of operation Bluestone that was created to improve rape case procedures (Brown, 2022), shows that the number of cases making it to court have increased with the project, but conviction rates remain very low (Fenton et al, 2016). This was impacted by rape myth culture, which was a consistent theme throughout the research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCriminology & Criminal Justice
Publication statusSubmitted - 7 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


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