By Katy Proctor
Since 2010, when stalking was defined as a crime in Scotland, much has been achieved to raise awareness and understanding of the crime. As a consequence, reports to the police, convictions and custodial sentences for perpetrators have increased in frequency with each year.
From today, across the UK, Child Tax Credits will only be available for the first and second child. Third or subsequent children won’t get a look in. That is – of course – unless the child is a result of rape.
The Department of Work and Pensions claim that this rape exemption or ‘rape clause’ will only be carried out in the most ‘compassionate’ way, but the question is, can forcing a woman to disclose rape to receive welfare ever really be compassionate? For us – Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid – the answer is a flat out no.
On 19th January Scottish Legal News published a piece by Brian McConnachie QC in which he accused Rape Crisis Scotland of having been irresponsible in the way we had commented on the recent civil damages case pursued and won by Denise Clair against rapists David Goodwillie and David Robertson.
We asked for a right to reply to these claims, and sent SLN a detailed account of our response to this case and why we believe it to have been both measured and justified. They refused to publish it, saying it was ‘too political’. Our piece is below. What do you think?
Yesterday saw the publication of two documents from which we can glean a great deal about the current landscape for rape complainers in Scotland.
The first was a historic judgement given by Lord Armstrong in a civil damages case brought by Denise Clair against David Goodwillie and David Robertson, which was remarkable as the only civil case in living memory for damages for rape and found in favour of Ms. Clair that the two men had raped her after she met them on a night out January 2011. Despite an initial decision to prosecute, the Crown dropped criminal proceedings against Goodwillie, and it took six years for her to finally receive justice through the civil justice process.
By Sandy Brindley & Michele Burman
We were shocked and horrified to see the use of such blatantly prejudicial sexual history evidence in the Ched Evans retrial.