Tuesday, 7 July 2015
Jersey Continues to Fail Abuse (Rape) Victims?
Below is a (redacted) complaint against two Senior Officers of the States of Jersey Police over the way they appear to have handled a recent allegation of Rape/Sexual Assault and look to have treated the victim as the perpetrator and vice versa.
This is a harrowing story, which serves to demonstrate that nothing has changed in Jersey, regarding abuse complaints, despite assurances from the Establishment to the contrary. Victims look to be STILL persecuted, disbelieved, and threatened while the alleged perpetrators are protected by the system (and friends in high places).
The alleged victim of recent rape/sexual Assault has been threatened with arrest, been portrayed as the perpetrator, and ignored by authorities, to the point where she has attempted to take her own life.
Police have downgraded this attack as a “sexual assault” and are not treating it as rape. Again this looks to be contrary to their own PR spin (photo of police van above) “SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE.”
Extracts from complaint against police.
“We encourage victims to come forward, we will help you. ( we won't help you if I have a working relationship with your attacker, in fact, I will threaten to arrest you).”
“Treatment by the police further traumatised me to the point of suicide.”
“The treatment I received from the police, i.e. Having the tables turned so that the attacker was the victim and I was the criminal”
“It leaves Society with a Police force unfit for purpose.”
Redacted Complaint Against Police.
I was sexually assaulted on the night of the (redacted). I was in a state of shock, distress and torment both physically and emotionally for the months that followed thereafter when this heinous crime was committed against me. The emotional scarring and turbulence to my life had a devastating debilitating effect and most upsetting to me that of my family's life thereafter. I could no longer communicate on a healthy balanced level as the emotional damage took it's course over the subsequent months that followed. Naive as it was (in hindsight) and reasonable to assume my thinking process had also been severely curtailed my immediate reaction was to protect my family. I felt at the time of this crime, if I did not tell those I loved what had happened to me, I was protecting them and had tried with great difficulty to continue my life. In my mistaken and emotionally misguided thought process this approach was unhealthy with pernicious and serious consequences for the stability and well being of my husband, children and myself as I clearly was vulnerable and not in a position to 'departmentalise' this violation to myself. I eventually found the courage to open up to my husband as to what had occurred the night of (redacted). It was, to say the very least a very upsetting and shocking disclosure to my husband however he was very supportive and understood my reasons for my misguided interpretation of trying to protect him and the children. It helped him to understand and empathise with the previous months behaviour on my part as I was often found crying combined with no emotional engagement. With his love and considerate understanding he gave me the courage to now approach the Jersey Police and report this heinous crime. From the reporting of this crime, I have had the support and guidance on this matter from highly qualified bodies of authority; CPS, Rape Crisis England to name but two and a host of other leading authorities on this matter.
In a letter I received from the law office explaining to me why the case didn't go to court, it stated that 'the police investigating were 'unclear' as to why there was a delay'. Importantly, if the police were 'unclear' about anything,
(1). I'd like to know why they didn't simply ask me to clarify? This raises alarm bells as to the thoroughness of this investigation.
In fact I only gave one statement to the 2 uniformed police officers on the night I reported. I was extremely distressed however, I was categorically told that I would be able to go over it again at a later date with an experienced officer, which given my extreme distress and the circumstances, this information was reassuring. It has to date never happened. I was informed with some coolness that I could get in touch with Victim Support.
(2). I would like to know why I was only ever interviewed once especially given that the investigating officer/s was 'unclear' on any issue that I could have instantly clarified?
Finally 3 days later on the (redacted) I received a phone call from (officer No.1). It was an abrupt call whereby he asked if I had told my GP about this?. I had not been out of the house since speaking to the Police on (redacted). I replied no and he ended the call as abruptly as he had started. That was my first contact and introduction as a victim of a sexual crime to the investigating officer, (Officer No1). It was completely lacking in empathy or compassion for the position that I was in. I would also like the SOJP to be aware that at no time from the first point of contact to the last, did any officer ever enquire as to my well being.
(3). Is this the standard way in which the SOJP are trained to deal with victims of sexual crime?
Within this time period, I phoned Victim Support. They informed me that they did not receive a 'referral' for me and therefore could only 'deal' with me once the police referred me. I found this very demoralising on top of the ordeal that I was already experiencing. My husband and I went to the police station as I wanted to meet (Officer No.1) in person and ask him to please 'refer' me to Victim Support. He was unavailable so a different police officer assisted us. He informed us that the Victim Support referral should have been instant from the time of reporting, as it is and I quote 'at the push of a button'. The Officer pushed the button that same day. Two weeks after reporting, I finally received a letter from Victim Support.
(4). I would like to know what the SOJPs procedure is for referring sexual crime victims to Victim Support and what went wrong with my referral?
Unfortunately, my attacker lived 2 doors away from me making us immediate neighbours. From the day I reported, I had to endure regular sniggering & goading from him, his partner and their visitors. Obviously I made great efforts to avoid his path since the night of the attack, however living in a very small community and him being two doors away from me was not always possible. My 73 year old mother had to fly over from (redacted) and stay with me as I could no longer cope when my husband was at work as I felt isolated, alone, vulnerable and intimidated. My mother was a witness to many of these incidents. Some of which are documented by the Jersey Police. Consequently, my husband had to take time off work eventually, as I simply could not cope for obvious reasons.
On the (recacted), (Officer No.1) came to my home to tell me that there was 'insufficient evidence' to go to court. I was distraught, to put it mildly. I vocalised to (Officer No.1) that as the attacker is a (redacted) within social services (& to my knowledge working within an environment of vulnerable females), I would be reporting the matter to the Health Care Professional Council in London (HCPC). This is the regulatory body which oversees registrants 'fitness to practice'. I was then very curtly told not to 'harass' the attacker by doing this. It beggared belief. I would like to take the opportunity to point out that the HCPC exists for this reason. It is an authoritative body whereby members of the public can report registered individuals regardless of whether a case went to court or not. In other words, after being denied justice in the most demeaning, abrupt and humiliating manner, I felt it my moral duty as well as being within my rights to contact the HCPC. given the fact I was a victim of sexual assault by someone I knew and who had access to other vulnerable people within a woking environment in the States of Jersey.
Contrary to any police officers belief, my reporting of my experience to the HCPC is a deeply personal matter for me to decide and does NOT amount to 'harassment', as (Officer No1) insinuated and was clearly (to me) belittling my horrendous experience and quite deliberately wishing to undermine my confidence even further than it already was. I found his comment, unhelpful, distasteful, disrespectful, aggressive, rather threatening and wholly inaccurate to say the least. Once again, I felt completely unsupported and further violated by the States of Jersey police force and it was now being suggested in a very strong manner that I was 'harassing' my attacker.
To date, I am still in a state of anguish and am traumatised by this vile violating attack which took place. I have been through the worst time in my life; which has had a clear and devastating effect on my husband and children, parents and siblings. Without who's support I cannot begin to imagine what might have become of me.
Being in a very vulnerable situation and with very little support from States of Jersey police and feeling depressed and very very let down by the attitude from the States of Jersey police, I sent the attackers partner a text message stating that although it did not go to court, he did this to me and I felt she needed to know that. Given the pressure of being neighbours whilst this investigation was going on, the goading, what my family and I were going through, I don't think any reasonably minded person would view this as a particularly heinous thing to do, certainly not by comparison. Having spoke with several Professionals such as my GP, counsellor, psychologists and even Senators have unanimously agreed that given the circumstances, this was not a big deal. I was horrified when (Officer No.1) came to my home and read out a complaint from my attacker saying that he was being 'harassed', and now I had to sign an 'anti harassment order'. Not only am I not being properly protected by the States of Jersey police, I am now being bullied by my attacker with the States of Jersey Police force as back up and I find myself being unwittingly criminalised while my attacker is using the very system that ought to have been there from the onset to protect not only myself, but my family.
There is a particularly distressing part to this: (Officer No.1) informed me that the attacker complained that our (redacted) year old daughter was 'running around calling him a rapist'. Naturally, I broke down. Our (redacted) year old daughter attended (redacted) at the time due to having a (redacted) which meant that her (redacted). I can absolutely assure you that that word is not and never has been in her vocabulary. It would have been extremely inappropriate for her to be made aware of what had happened, hence why she never knew and still does not know what happened. She understands of course that something has made her mummy unhappy due to my depression however, our children are of the upmost importance to us and we have gone to great lengths to shield them from the horrors that actually took place, naturally, as any parent, I'd like to think would do.
The actual assault and then the reporting of it culminated in the worst experience of my life and unfortunately I tried to take my own life. It became clear to me, my husband, my sister and my mother that at some point in my dealings with the States of Jersey Police force, I was the 'perpetrator' and the attacker was the 'victim'. This was too devastating for me to take in. Having our (redacted) year old daughter dragged into this was horrendous. I have some very serious questions I would appreciate answers to:-
- Was it really necessary for the detective to tell me this? Was this a 'victim led investigation' or more to the point, who did the police view the victim as?
- Did the attacker also have to sign a 'anti harassment order' for the times that I felt threatened and intimidated by him and reported it? My children were also placed on a safeguarding order by the detective. (My son, because the attacker would stand outside with his arms folded staring at my son. His friends noticed this too). Or, was that only reserved for me?
I sent an email to the health minister and a senator. This was because I was appealing to them to rehouse us. Unbeknown to me, the attacker had already been given his notice to leave. My husband and I were completely unaware of this but we did notice a police car parked outside our house when they were leaving. It may well have been a coincidence, but given my now status as a perpetrator:-
- was this for his 'protection' against me? Once we realised that they left and this coincided with the police car stationed outside my house, it then became rather disturbing to think that could have been the case. Nevertheless, it was a huge relief that he had indeed left.
( Senior Officer No.2)
Through a medium of emails back and forth to Health Minister and the Senator, the Senator got in touch with me to arrange to meet the following week. We met and discussed the realities of how I reported a crime and then was portrayed as the perpetrator. The senator was supportive but then informed me that prior to our meeting, (s)he had spoken to (Senior Officer No.2) regarding the case. At first, (s)he told me that (Senior Officer No.2) sometimes worked alongside the attacker as he is involved with child protection, safeguarding etc., she told me that (Senior Officer No.2) 'liked' him and (s)he; the Senator, was told unequivocally by (Senior Officer No.2) that if I 'kept pushing it', (Senior Officer No.2) would have me arrested and charged with 'perverting the course of justice'. I was completely and utterly stunned by this relaying of a message from (Senior Officer No.2) to the Senator (as was the Senator) it also confirmed what I thought all along, that the investigation into my reported crime was inappropriately and unprofessionally conducted by all concerned by the States of Jersey police force and it was I, not my attacker who became a suspect being investigated for 'making a false allegation'.
There are many issues with (Senior Officer No.2) taking this stance.
(s)he works alongside my attacker. There is clearly a conflict of interest here. I also view this stance as an abuse of power. This was clearly a threat, not to mention intimidation. If I did not 'drop' the issue, (s)he would arrest me. This is an appalling abuse of authority.
I notice that (Senior Officer No.2) speaks in favour of victims of abuse coming forward and gives the appearance of supporting this. (S)he may well do, but in my case, (s)he had a professional biased relationship with my attacker and 'liked' him, so threatened to silence a sexual crime victim with arrest. This is the wrong message to be sending out to members of the public and victims of crime. The message I take from (Senior Officer No.2) is this: We encourage victims to come forward, we will help you. ( we won't help you if I have a working relationship with your attacker, in fact, I will threaten to arrest you).
Is this a message that the States of Jersey Police Force are happy to put out there to other possible victims of crime?
I was also told that (Senior Officer No.2) said to the senator that I ‘had an unhappy marriage and was thus 'making it up'. I find (Senior Officer No.2) comments absolutely disgusting, inaccurate, unprofessional, unhelpful, callous and based on thin air. I have never met (Senior Officer No.2) and would like to know how (s)he arrived at that conclusion. I am not going to justify my marriage to anyone but would like to point out to the SOJP that this is a very misinformed, dangerous myth regarding sexual offences. It is suggesting that say for example, a woman who is in an abusive marriage then goes on to be the victim of a sexual crime would immediately be treated as a liar because of her circumstances. It suggests that women have ulterior motives for reporting sexual crimes. It suggests you are a liar until proven otherwise. The damage that has been done to me because of this assumption will take a long time to heal, if ever.
Would you also advocate that abused children from difficult backgrounds are lying because of their circumstances? Is it appropriate for (Senior Officer No.2) to take this stance given (Senior Officer No.2) fondness for my attacker? Was my complaint ever treated with impartiality and fairness? Or was the investigation looking for every inconsistency without clarifying it with me, in order to tip it in favour of the attacker who has working ties with the SOJP? I feel given what I know now there is absolutely no doubt in my mind it was biased from the onset.
(Redacted) you will find on your own website, under the 'Ask, listen, respect' page. (redacted): "Our message has been clear, sex withoutconsent is rape. But despite all this work there are still some age-old taboosstill in peoples minds and throughout the course of the year we will becontinuing the work to challenge them and get people talking about a subjectwhich, in the past, has been difficult."
This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I am still trying to pick up the pieces. All of the above mentioned treatment by the police further traumatised me to the point of suicide. I am being treated for Post traumatic stress disorder and I can assure you that I did not end up with PTSD from having a fling, regretful sex, bad marriage or any other myth preventing justice being carried out. I ended up with long term PTSD as a direct result of what the attacker did to me, which amounts to nothing short of a sexual assault. The treatment I received from the police, i.e. Having the tables turned so that the attacker was the victim and I was the criminal, has severely dented my faith and confidence in the police, specifically the States of Jersey Police and society as a whole.. I don't want this happening to anyone else. No one but absolutely no one should have to go through this alone; the vulnerability of coping with heinous crime forced upon you, the deep violation is immeasurable and coupled with a biased, unprofessional, unco-operative, threatening Police force to debilitate the victim further into despair, severely adds to the trauma already inflicted.
To reiterate, I am making a formal complaint about the quality of service (lack of) that myself and my family received from the States of Jersey police from the date of reporting and beyond. I consistently felt uncomfortable (Officer No.1) scolding attitude towards me, his lack of concern for my well being and overall lack of compassion towards a sexual crime victim.
I am making a formal complaint against (Senior Officer No.2) for his/her biased, unprofessional, judgmental, conflicted and abusive stance towards myself, the victim of a sex crime.(END)
I’m sure readers will agree that this is a harrowing account of how alleged rape/abuse victims apparently continue to suffer the prejudices of a supposed bygone era in 21st Century Jersey Police Force?
It is worth mentioning that the victim has told us that the alleged perpetrator was apparently brought in for questioning by the police and adopted the “no comment” stance. If true, would this be the action of an innocent man?
After going through all the correct channels open to the alleged victim, and having apparently been disbelieved, and threatened with prosecution herself she contacted VFC and asked if there was anything we could do to help.
Team Voice met with Chief Minister Ian Gorst and Assistant Chief Minister Paul Routier at a public drop in session at St. Paul’s Centre where we raised our, and the victim’s concerns with them.
Although they tried to convince us they took the allegations seriously, and were both proud to tell us that Senator Routier was a member of the Adult and Children Policy Group (whatever that is) the complete opposite turned out to be the case.
After having our e-mails ignored and having to embarrass them on Twitter in order to get a response, Senator Paul Routier finally responded by e-mail advising the victim to take her complaints to the very people she was complaining about. He, and the Chief Minister had, and have, no interest, as public servants, to represent her.
Why should alleged victims in this day and age (post Savile, post Operation Rectangle, post Rotherham) still be treated so appallingly by the police and authorities?
Equally disturbing is, according to the alleged victim, her attacker is STILL working “within an environment of vulnerable females”