Lucy Allan MP is fighting the good fight in Telford, asking some tough questions about the widespread child rape that was taking place there. Ms Allan and others refer to the systematic rape of children as child sexual exploitation (CSE), and I make no criticism of her for that, but I will stick to the old-fashioned term child rape as I feel it is more accurate.
Ms Allan asked in Parliament why ‘multiple perpetrators were arrested for grooming a 13-year old-girl for sex but were not charged by the Crown Prosecution Service as the CPS considered the girl to have consented and that the perpetrators reasonably believed from the victim’s actions that she consented and was over 16 years old’.
It is true that in law perpetrators can avoid charges and prosecution for CSE offences using the defence that perpetrators would, from a victim’s actions, have reasonably believed the victim consented and that they believed the child to be over 16. However, I find all of this perplexing.
You know it’s funny, Theresa May and the rest of them are falling over themselves to criminalise the wrong that is ‘upskirting’ yet the CPS don’t seem able to get a handle on the child rape cases. Do we really need more minor sexual offences when the police and CPS cannot prosecute the most serious of all – gang rape of kids?
By the way, the mealy-mouthed reply given by the Solicitor General to Ms Allan was thus: ‘It is an extremely complex and sensitive case. The CPS are taking the time to investigate it fully and then the Home Office will respond.’
I don’t think it is that complex. A 13-year-old was allegedly raped by ‘multiple perpetrators’, and they say they thought she was consenting and over 16. The CPS believe the jury will nod along when these alleged perpetrators say: ‘Yes, we thought she was consenting, this 13-year-old, and we really, really believed she was 16. We all believed, all of us, the whole gang thought this 13-year-old was having a great time.’
Amazing. A drunken date gone wrong between two 20-somethings at university will see a prosecution before you can say ‘But she invited me back and took all my clothes off.’
A 13-year-old girl with a bunch of men . . . oh, we think she consented.
All victims are equal, but some are more equal than others.