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IPCC: Norfolk police ignored warnings

Officers ignored repeated warnings from the ex-girlfriend of paedophile rock star Ian Watkins that he had sent her an indecent image of a child, the police watchdog has found.

Joanne Mjadzelics took a laptop three times to Doncaster Police Station between March and May 2012, but it was only on the last time that South Yorkshire Police officers looked at it and concluded the image was a close-up of an adult.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has investigated the force and found their inaction may have left a child at risk for several months.

The watchdog has concluded that three officers would have a case to answer for gross misconduct but as each has retired following 30 years’ service, no further action can be taken.

Australia highlights unfair court system for CSA victims

The court process is unfair and often traumatic for child victims of sexual abuse, the chair of the royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse has said.

In a speech delivered at a conference in Sydney on Wednesday, Justice Peter McClellan said that reliance on cross-examination in criminal trials, which was intended to help juries determine the truth of any particular witnesses’ claim, was damaging to vulnerable witnesses like children or victims of sexual abuse.

The royal commission is expected to recommend changes to the trial process when it hands down its final report on 15 December. Among the options being considered, McClellan said, are introducing to all states and territories the Queensland crime of persistent sexual offences, which does not require the victim to recall the details of specific incidents.

IICSA failing victims

Sex abuse victims have been “utterly marginalised” by an inquiry set up to help them, one of the victims claimed.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is examining the extent to which religious groups and local authorities failed children.

Earlier this week a latest victims group – Survivors of Organised and Institutional Abuse (SOIA) – withdrew from the process.

The IICSA said it had “taken on board” a number of issues raised by SOIA.

SOIA said the group had taken the decision to withdraw “with regret” but said the inquiry was “not fit for purpose”.

Set up in 2014, the inquiry has been beset by controversy, with three chairwomen stepping down, lawyers quitting and victims losing faith in the process.

Rochdale grooming trial: Nine found guilty of child sex charges

Nine men have been convicted of being part of a child sexual exploitation ring in Greater Manchester.

The men, from Rochdale and Oldham, “groomed” girls, one as young as 13.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the men plied their victims with drink and drugs so they could “pass them around” and use them for sex.

The case, involving Asian defendants and white victims, sparked protests by far-right groups but police insist the grooming was not “racially motivated”.

The offences which centred on Heywood included rape, trafficking girls for sex and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

Two of the defendants on trial, Qamar Shazad and Liaquat Shah both of Rochdale, were acquitted and walked free from court.

The court was told that the abuse, which began in 2008, took place at two takeaways in the town involving a group of men aged between 24 and 59. The takeaways are now under new management.


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Facebook ‘rape’ page to stay despite charity criticism

Facebook has been criticised for not removing a controversial page which victim support charities say trivialises and jokes about rape.

The group page, called “You know she’s playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway”, has 194,370 likes on the social networking site.

Victim support groups have called it “disgusting”.

Companies that advertise on Facebook have demanded their adverts be removed from the page.

Johnny Depp apologises over rape comment


Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp has apologised for “regretful” comments made in an interview, comparing photo shoots to being raped.

He told Vanity Fair magazine he found being photographed “just weird” and said: “You just feel like you’re being raped somehow. Raped. The whole thing.”

In a statement he apologised for “a poor choice of words on my part, in an effort to explain a feeling”.

It came after he was criticised by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

Speaking at the same interview, Depp, 48, added “whenever you have a photo shoot or something like that, it’s like – you just feel dumb”.

“It’s just so stupid,” he added.

Do men hold the key to fighting rape in South Africa?

“How many of you here have ever raped a woman?”

After a short silence two men gingerly raise their hands.

In towns and cities across South Africa, small groups of men, some of them confessed rapists, are meeting to talk about sexual violence, as part of a small but significant challenge to their country’s notorious record on rape.

This workshop is gathered at a sports centre in the deprived Johannesburg township of Alexandra.

“Most men are silent about this,” says Dumisani Rebombo, who is leading the workshop organised by the One Man Can Campaign.

But it is “vitally important” for men to play their part in tackling the rape crisis, he says.

Just as the participation of white people in the black struggle against apartheid in South Africa had added strength to that movement, men “must stand up and work with women” to combat rape, he told the BBC World Service.

Ex-soldier jailed for another rape

An ex-soldier who raped a woman while on licence after serving a prison term for another rape was jailed for seven years today.

 James Lang, 26, who was thrown out of the British Army after being convicted of rape while serving in Germany, attacked a drunk woman after a night out in his hometown of Torquay, Devon.

 He denied the offence but was convicted after the prosecution at his trial, backed by CCTV footage, argued his unconscious victim was too drunk to consent to sex with him.

The footage, shown at his four-day trial at Exeter Crown Court, showed him putting his teenage victim, whom he met in a club, over his shoulder and carrying her up a dark alley, where he raped her in a doorway in October last year.

 Sentencing him at the same court today, Judge Graham Cottle told the former Royal Logistics Corps lance corporal he attacked her in a place “as inconducive to consensual sex as one can imagine”.

 “She had no idea where she had been. She woke up there realising she had been raped.

 “If not a carbon copy (of his previous offence) it was very similar. You took advantage of a woman insensible through alcohol.

 “Your propensity to have sexual designs on women who have drunk too much is deeply worrying.”

 There was a disturbance in court after Lang was sentenced as one of his victim’s relatives tried to come face to face with him in the dock, but he was prevented from doing so by court staff.

The court heard that Lang, of Laburnum Street, Torquay, was jailed for four years in April 2008, reduced to three years on appeal, after raping a drunk woman in his room in British Army barracks in Osnabruck. She woke up and found him on top of her, before managing to escape and raise the alarm in the guardroom.

Rape crime figure differences revealed

New figures show wide disparities in the way that police forces in England and Wales record allegations of rape.

Data supplied to BBC News shows the proportion of rapes dismissed by the police as “no crime” varies between 2% and 30%.

Overall, the number of reports of rape classed as “no crime” has decreased.

The figures given to the BBC come four years after a watchdog warned that recorded crime figures for rape were skewed.

In its report, the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate warned that some reports of rape were being wrongly classified by police forces. In turn, there was a danger that these mistakes inflated perceptions of false allegations.

At the time, police in England and Wales classified almost 16% of reports of rapes as “no crime”. That figure has now fallen to under 12% – but data supplied by the Association of Chief Police Officers shows that the average hides wide variations.

While Gloucestershire Police recorded 2.4% of rapes as “no crime”, the figure for Kent was 30%, three times the rate in 2009. Surrey Police’s “no crime” figure was over 20%.

‘Figures insulting’

In a statement, Kent Police said the jump in its statistics came after a recent review of open cases.

Miliband and Cameron clash over rape case DNA legislation

Downing Street insisted David Cameron was not going to conduct a U-turn on the retention of suspects’ DNA in rape cases after being put under pressure on the issue by the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

The protection of freedoms bill requires the removal of DNA profiles from police databases after five years in all cases in which no charges are brought, but rape victims’ groups have called for DNA to be retained in exceptional cases.

Speaking at prime minister’s questions, Miliband urged Cameron to make an exception in rape cases.

The Labour leader asked: “Around 5,000 people each year are arrested on suspicion of rape and not charged … in certain cases these individuals have gone on to commit further offences and be convicted as a result of the DNA being held on the national database, but his proposal is that for those arrested and not charged the DNA would be disposed of straight away.

“I ask him again, why is it right to discard the DNA of those arrested but not charged with rape?”

It emerged that the prime minister did not know details of the proposal, which is due to return to the Commons at the bill’s report stage shortly.

During rowdy exchanges in which he had to seek advice from the home secretary, Theresa May, Cameron appeared to hint that he would look at the issue again.

The prime minister said the government would “look carefully” at the plans and that there was “always room to see where it can be improved”, but insisted the coalition had inherited “an unacceptable situation with a DNA database that had grown out of control and without proper rights for people”.

He later said he believed the police could ask for the retention of DNA in exceptional cases, but Labour claimed the category did not apply in rape cases.