Monday 12 November 2007

Slipping back into "style without substance"

Don't get me wrong, I have been very impressed with 'Call me' Dave recently, since the grammar school debacle in May he has managed to keep his party mostly on the track of releasing policy statements that have been backed with reasoned arguments. I am not saying I agree with all of that reasoning, or that I am now a supporter of the Conservative party, just that it was nice to see that they were thinking about what they were saying before they said it.

Unfortunately today it seams like the bubble has burst, it is being reported that Mr Cameron is going to get tough on rapists. And while this is a good thing in of itself, there seems to be something missing. They have identified three issues

  1. A conviction rate of 5.7% the lowest in Europe, just isn't good enough
  2. The sentences the small number of those convicted get aren't stiff enough
  3. The very fact that one in four young people[1] thinks it is acceptable for a boy to "expect to have sex with a girl" if she has been "very flirtatious" is of great concern

Nothing wrong with these points, but I can only see two of them addressed, I at first though that this was a reporting issue, it was entirely feasible that the Gruainad, Aunty and the Liz Hurlygraph had all missed this bit out, so I had a look on and their top story is still the co-operative schools one. So if they are suggesting a review of sentences to ensure proportionality and an education programme to make it clear to 'the youth' that rape is bad m'kay what are they proposing to actually increase the conviction rate? Or I suppose for that matter, raise the reporting rate, or are they hoping that if they can do the former then the increased confidence the victims will have that it is worth the additional distress, will mean that it will raise itself? We shall see whether as the news day develops we get to see the working out behind this, which is worth more than just writing the answer, especially when the answer seems incomplete.

[1] The Telegraph reports this as a figure released by Amnesty International, but I can't find the source material.

1 comment:

Joe Otten said...

Yes, an increase in the conviction rate should increase the reporting rate. But the converse is false. Increase the reporting rate and you will increase the proportion of difficult-to-prove cases and reduce the conviction rate. I do wonder if this has already happened, and partly explains the low conviction rate.