Abuse charity speaks out on assault claims

The head of a Mansfield-based support charity for survivors of sex abuse has spoken out following news that a teenage woman has been accused of wasting police time after reporting a sex attack at the town’s Racecourse Park.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th May 2014, 2:01 pm

The report of the attack on 2nd May sparked panic in the area that a serial sex attacker had struck again following a similar assault in the park in September last year around the same time.

News that the 17-year-old girl had been summoned to court for wasting police time sparked outrage on Facebook, with many saying false accusations made it much harder for genuine victims to report assaults to police.

Nicci Robinson, chief executive of Mansfield’s SHE UK, said: “It is a massive step to even go to someone and tell them anything about an incident of abuse or sexual violence - whether to a friend or services that help.

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“But to go to police is just huge - that can be several steps along the journey - and it is difficult enough when the justice system does not make it easy.

“The problem is it makes it harder for genuine cases to be believed because an officer who interviewed and believed someone making a false allegation to be sincere may doubt genuine cases in future.”

Ms Robinson said initial belief and trust in the victim was paramount in police investigations.

She added: “You are asking them to suspend disbelief before proceeding with the investigation and making sure the allegation is true.”

For more information visit she-uk.org.uk.