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Comparison Between Sexual Crimes in U.S. and the UK and How They are Legislated

Comparison between sexual crimes in U.S. and UK and how they are legislated

Violent crime highly impact many people, mainly the women. Rape, which is an appalling crime is depicted as the deviant act of various societies. It is quite unfortunate that the rape takes place rapidly as compared to report. It is extremely difficult to understand the situation of someone, who is rape victim, and to disclose the trauma to the authorities, through which she has undergone. Furthermore, rape victims are still expected to tell the horrific nightmare, during their trail sessions, in which they not only come across the accuser, but at the same time they had to face the chance that might be blame for the crime. Sexual/ assault/rape are some of the interpersonal violence, which are highly seen in England and United States[1]. Even United States had declared that more and more research will be conducted through the member nations in order to address the violence gong against the female population and bring it as an international issue. Less research had been undertaken, which tries to assess as well as compare the sexual assault response from the member nations.

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Comparison between sexual crimes in U.S and UK and how they are legally processed

Bill Cosby, who is a popular American stand up comedian had to face many sexual assault allegations, but the same were failed to be prosecuted in America, due to the statute of limitations. But in case of UK, there are no time limitations in case of sexual abuse and various other crimes. The question here is what actually explains this difference? The statute of limitations is considered effectively as an expiry date for the crime allegations, and this date of varies according to the state in America[2].

In the past few years in UK, there are many cases of high profile sexual abuse cases that are registered. In the year 1968-1986, the popular entertainer Rolf Harris was sent to jail for sexual offenses. Along with that Television weather reporter Fred Talbot was sent to jail in 1975-1976 in case of sexual assault, and Stuart Hall, who is a broadcaster was sent to jail in the year 2013. But in case of U.S the laws of the state gets variant.

In America, there are around 34 states that follow the statutes of limitations, under the set time limit. This process goes on from 3-30 years. For instance, the rape offence, as highlighted by Florida, Georgia, and Alabama that how uneven are sexual assault laws could be. Georgia holds the limit of around fifteen years. In Florida the rape victims need to fill their case within four years, but all across the Alabama states, there is no set limitations.

There are still few states in America that creates an exemptions in case, if the DNA match is explore after the passing of many years, although this process can also come under set time limit[3]. But in case the perpetrator goes to the police station and confess about their crime, then also there will be no guarantee that prosecution will take place.

In both the US and UK, the law system is quite similar that implies they might lead to solve the case both gradually and organically by the help of case law. It also provides the discretion by the judges- unlike the UK law system that is mostly adhere with the strict codes for particular criminal offense. Therefore, judicial system of UK is more flexible as compared to US on the issue of sexual assault.

In UK, the prosecutor can easily appeal against the decision placed by judge, and then slowly the discretion of judiciary will leave the historical sexual abuse cases[4]. It’s noted that judges might wary the dismissal of case for any particular reason. The present thinking in the UK might be wrong, as most of the victims had start feeling safe in coming forward. It is important to have a system, where system feels sorry for making the victim waited for so long, and then easily come and fill their case.

The US federal nature creates the legal evolution even more like the piecemeal. The US federal government basically holds no appetite to get included into it. Instead, it happens on the basis of state by state, but still there are no sign of change in the country.

Sexual Assault Data
DataUnited StatesEngland
SourcesNVAWBCS
Prevalence17.60%24%
Sexual assault rates in sample time3%0.9% Sexual assault, and 0.4% of rape
RisksAmerican women (34.1%) and 12-24 years age women (61.8%)16-24 years age women rate is 6.8% in case of sexual assault, and 2.1% in rape.
Perp relationshipStranger are 16.7%, and known offender of victim are 89.7%Stranger are 8%, and known offender to victim is 92%
Rape Law Reforms
Main reformsUnited StatesEngland
Key Law 1Michigan model (1974)- Law of criminal sexual assault- it dropped the connection required/ rape shield law, utmost resistance, and emphasize on offenderSexual Offences Act (1976)- it adds the consent, leave the resistance needed and redefined the rape
Key Law 2Rape Shield laws- gradually its dropped by the states, but it’s a problem like the case of Kobe Bryant caseYouth justice and Criminal Evidence Act (1999)- it helps the vics, and video testimony
Key Law 3Violence against women Act (1994)- it was set up for the sexual assault new crimes; the response of government to S/A was an issue, rape crisis centre supports[5]Sexual offences Act (2003)- it redefined the rape and include penetrations, and include different levels of sexual assault
Important casesPeople Vs Paxton (1967)- in this victim sex hx permitted, no defendantsDPP vs Morgan (1976)- Honest but mistaken belief of consent

Limitations of the UKs Sexual offences act 2001 and possible changes that can be made

As per the old law that was Sexual offences Act 2001, it was noted that there was no precise explanation of the consent, rather only a vague idea on how the consent could be actually given is mentioned. Under 2001 Act, consent was just a word, which was considered by the courts as ordinary; therefore, this word lack behind in its meaning and was even scrutinised. Section 5 of the Sexual offences Act 2001 is quite limited towards the offences including the real penetrative acts related to sexual intercourse, act of gross indecency as well as buggery among males[6]. Along with this, there are many other faults as well as failures related to section 5. This Act simply fails while dealing with the wide range of sexual activities as well as sexual exploitation, which the basic law related to sexual offences is already mentioned. This problem was taken out by White J. in The people. In that case, the accused forces the female, who had an intellectual disability while doing the oral sex. As this type of sexual offences fails to come under the section 5 scope of 2001 Act, which only deals with the buggery and sexual intercourse cases only, the accused was charged according to section 4 of Criminal Law Act 1990[7]. It’s remarkably notable that the section 4 of 1990 Act is basically applied and fails to include about the particular provisions, which might occur where the complaints holds the intellectual disability.

Throughout American as well as English history of legal acts, the rape crime is based over the stereotypes and myths related to rape victims. Being a crime, rape is usually treated lightly till the coming of reforms in 1970s and 1980s[8]. Law reform and feminist advocates strongly argues for the severity related to the crime and failure in getting appropriate response through the system of criminal justice, as that calls for the important statutory changes.

In the past 30 years, there are many laws that has enacted to response against the rape crime. All these reforms were even modified again and again, where else the professional attempt towards reaching an agreement over this controversial problem. It includes Sexual offences Act of 2003 and 1975; Criminal justice Act of 2003 applied in England, and Youth Justice and criminal Evidence Act of 1999. In case of America, the similar type of legal acts are imposed like the Violence against Women Act 1994, Rape shield laws, as well as Michigan’s Criminal Sexual Assault Law 1974[9]. These laws were created in related to the rape crime. In America, the act of rape shield clearly outlines the amendments Bill C-127 of 1983 as well as C-49 of 1992 in the criminal Code[10]. It also outlines the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1983 and various other amendments related to criminal code, that offers higher support to all the victims, over the period of time.

Rape shield laws of America are most criticized as compared to other countries, and from many years they were scrutinized in the courts. There are many scholars that had noted that they are not able to safeguard the victims. Furthermore, the victims is still presented as the subject to what few named as second assault by the system of criminal justice during the trail process of rape[11]. Even when the time of reporting rape, there are many who don’t come in the rape conviction. In fact, the government of UK had tried to call the attention towards the poor rate of conviction as the key issue.

Freedom of choice is considered as a comparative concept. Certain choices taken in life are completely free or either completely voluntary. Despite of the past three decades of the intense reforms and scrutiny, the rape law still gets fails in protecting the women sexual freedom. Terms like choice, freedom and capacity might get interpreted divergent and often it’s interpreted in minimalistic manner[12]. In the particular case of Sexual offences Act, it is made clear that all these legal terms doesn’t imply the complete freedom to women; however it remains to the concert how much liberty of action could be provided. Not only for this Sexual Offences Act 2003 was introduced, had Home office in the UK started investigating about the amendments. The Home office had also recently issued the consultation paper that clearly mentions the questions that were raised and relates with the adequacy of the capacity as per the s74 SOA 2003, to the level that it refine the definition and might even help the jurors in overcoming the challenges that had created problems in the past[13].

 

 

Work Cited

Carson, Catie, ‘A Comparison of Sexual Assault in the U.S., Canada, and England’ (2007) 3 Undergraduate Review 57-69

Heyden Tom, ‘The US-UK divide on sex cases’ (BBC News Magazine, 13 July 2015) <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33482619> accessed 21 October 2016

McGregor, Joan: Is it Rape? “On Acquaintance Rape and Taking Women’s Consent Seriously” (Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company 2005)

Raymond Byrne, ‘Sexual Offences and Capacity to Consent: Key Issues’ (2015) 5(1) Irish Journal of Legal Studies 22-39

Reddington, Frances, and Betsy Wright Kreisel: Sexual Assault. “The Victims, the Perpetrators, and the Criminal Justice System” (Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press 2005)

Terry, Karen: Sexual Offenses and Offenders. “Theory, Practice, and Policy” (Belmont, California: Thomson Higher Education 2006).

Westmarland, Nicole, ‘Rape Law Reform in England and Wales. April. School for Policy Studies’ (University of Bristol, UK, 2 April, 2006) <www.bristol.ac.uk/sps> accessed 21 October 2016.

[1] Raymond Byrne, ‘Sexual Offences and Capacity to Consent: Key Issues’ (2015) 5(1) Irish Journal of Legal Studies 22-39

[2] Carson, Catie, ‘A Comparison of Sexual Assault in the U.S., Canada, and England’ (2007) 3 Undergraduate Review 57-69

[3] Carson, Catie, ‘A Comparison of Sexual Assault in the U.S., Canada, and England’ (2007) 3 Undergraduate Review 57-69

[4] Heyden Tom, ‘The US-UK divide on sex cases’ (BBC News Magazine, 13 July 2015) <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33482619> accessed 21 October 2016

[5] Raymond Byrne, ‘Sexual Offences and Capacity to Consent: Key Issues’ (2015) 5(1) Irish Journal of Legal Studies 22-39

[6] Heyden Tom, ‘The US-UK divide on sex cases’ (BBC News Magazine, 13 July 2015) <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33482619> accessed 21 October 2016

[7] Reddington, Frances, and Betsy Wright Kreisel: Sexual Assault. “The Victims, the Perpetrators, and the Criminal Justice System” (Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press 2005)

[8] Reddington, Frances, and Betsy Wright Kreisel: Sexual Assault. “The Victims, the Perpetrators, and the Criminal Justice System” (Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press 2005)

[9] McGregor, Joan: Is it Rape? “On Acquaintance Rape and Taking Women’s Consent Seriously” (Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company 2005)

[10] Westmarland, Nicole, ‘Rape Law Reform in England and Wales. April. School for Policy Studies’ (University of Bristol, UK, 2 April, 2006) <www.bristol.ac.uk/sps> accessed 21 October 2016.

[11] Terry, Karen: Sexual Offenses and Offenders. “Theory, Practice, and Policy” (Belmont, California: Thomson Higher Education 2006).

[12] Carson, Catie, ‘A Comparison of Sexual Assault in the U.S., Canada, and England’ (2007) 3 Undergraduate Review 57-69

[13] McGregor, Joan: Is it Rape? “On Acquaintance Rape and Taking Women’s Consent Seriously” (Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company 2005)

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