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Rape Crisis Scotland hails landmark ruling in Scotland’s first civil action for damages for rape

Press statement 17th January 2017

Rape Crisis Scotland hails landmark ruling in Scotland’s first civil action in living memory for damages for rape

Today David Goodwillie and David Robertson were ruled to be rapists and ordered to pay £100,000 in damages to the woman they raped.

Rape Crisis Scotland Coordinator Sandy Brindley said:

“This is a landmark case which broadens access to justice in Scotland.  The majority of rapes reported to the police never make it to court, and rape complainers are left feeling devastated and let down by the criminal justice process.  The woman in this case should be commended for her bravery and courage in pursuing this case in the face of significant challenges.  She was left feeling very let down by the Crown Office, who dropped criminal proceedings against her rapists. Often, women in these circumstances tell us that they just want someone to believe them, and to acknowledge that what happened to them was rape.”

“We think that we will see more and more rape complainers who feel let down by the criminal justice system turning to civil system in their search for justice.  Steps must be taken to ensure that key protections, such as anonymity and protection from cross examination by the accused, are in place within the civil justice system for these cases.”

“We appreciate that the burden of proof is different in civil justice compared to criminal justice, but we do think there are questions for the Crown to answer about why they dropped this case, and their willingness to prosecute in cases where someone is so drunk they do not have the capacity to consent.  The law is clear – if someone is so drunk they can’t consent, it is rape, but these cases can be very difficult to obtain a prosecution in.”

Rape Crisis Scotland also welcomes Lord Armstrong’s comments dismissing the significance of flirting to the question of whether the woman was raped, with his statement that “the mere fact of sexual attraction does not preclude rape”.

For further comment, contact the RCS office on 0141 331 4180 / 07764167501