Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Some are just 'the Wrong Sort of Victims'

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the whole issue of ‘victimhood’ and one thing is clear - there are different types of victims. While there are some who attract widespread popular support, both from agents of the state and from the public at large - particularly those adults who claim to have been abused in childhood - there are others who are deemed merely worthy of being swatted away, like irritating flies or gnats. It seems to me that victims of false allegations are usually slotted into this latter category. Indeed, while our modern culture here in the UK pays much attention to someone claiming to have been sexually abused, little or no attention is given to an innocent person whose life might have been totally wrecked by a malicious, compensation-hungry liar.

Since writing a book about my own experiences – Presumed Guilty – I must admit I have been heartened by the widespread support I’ve received from ordinary folk, particularly from people who have gone through the misery of a similar situation, either directly or indirectly. This stated, I have also been disappointed by the glib manner in which some vocal ‘campaigners’ and ‘activists’ dismiss experiences like mine as being unwelcome or inconvenient.

Some people can’t understand how being the target of a dangerous, insidious liar is worth even dwelling upon. The attitude seems to be  ‘Oh, get over it and move on....’ Can you imagine the same dismissive approach being taken towards someone who has been a victim of a convicted paedophile?  ‘Oh, stop complaining, just get on with things...’ There’d be uproar, and quite rightly so.

In the modern hierarchy of victimhood, I, and others in my situation, are regarded as being the ‘wrong’ kind of victim of crime. Indeed, agents of the state don’t seem to recognise fabricating stories of having been sexually abused by an innocent party as a crime.

Police: no support here...
When I asked the investigating officer in my case whether I was going to receive an apology, after a court trial which PROVED the two friends who had accused me had lied, including repeatedly perjuring themselves in a court of law, she responded: ‘That’s not going to happen.’ It seems that having been a victim of a failed conspiracy by greedy compensation-hunting perjurers, one should simply shut up and crawl away, lest news of the ordeal becomes embarrassing for the professionals in charge of ‘the investigation’ or undermines the ordeals of genuine victims of sexual abuse.

On the one hand, those who make allegations of sexual abuse - regardless of whether or not they are telling the truth - are afforded a significant level of support and encouragement by the police, vocal campaigners, numerous charities and other organisations. If the person complaining is a genuine victim, then this is totally laudable in any caring society. (If he or she is lying, of course, then it undermines the entire process). Some complainants are also offered psychological counselling and therapy, as a person telling telling the truth should. And a significant number receive substantial sums of compensation, even if the alleged perpetrator has already died or the claims being made have never even been tested in a court of law. (Unfortunately, because of the sizeable amounts of money on offer, these handouts, unsurprisingly, attract the fraudsters, the fantasists and the inadequates).

But only for some victims?
In stark contrast, proven victims of false allegations are completely ignored by official bodies. There are those who have been accused of heinous offences and their names indelibly stained, but who have not even been arrested. There are others who have been arrested and kept on police bail for months, or even years, but never charged. And then there are those of us who were dragged through the criminal justice system, including a very public trial, and been acquitted by juries almost immediately, or whose cases have collapsed when police misconduct came to light. Perhaps the most unfortunate of all are those who have been wrongly convicted and find themselves in the hellish nightmare of our violent, dysfunctional prison system.

Regardless of the category in which innocent victims fall, none will find any official institutional support, counselling, recompense or compensation.

Yet many victims of false allegations have lost everything: careers, homes, professional reputations, life savings, pensions, even their pets. Some have lost close friends, relationships with family members and – in the worst cases – have felt unable to carry on with life and have killed themselves (one such case happened this very week). Others are saddled with vast legal bills which they may never be able to pay. Yet none of this seems to count.

No votes to be had here
How many of our politicians care a monkey’s, to use the vernacular?  Why would they? After all, to concern yourself with someone who has been accused of child abuse, even though he or she has been proven to be innocent, is hardly a vote winner.  At the end of our ordeals we are cast adrift and are just expected to slink away and keep quiet.

Meanwhile, those fakers and fraudsters who have told the most blatant lies – to police officers, to social workers, to psychologists, to barristers, to judges and to juries –  unless they actually admit they have made up a pack of lies - face no sanctions nor consequences. Police officers who have ‘believed’, supported and encouraged these liars for months, or even years, are most unlikely to recommend that any of them are charged with fraud, perjury or perverting the course of justice. This would be far too embarrassing because questions might then be asked about the shoddy, partial, virtually non-existent ‘investigations’, which too often pass as modern detective work in cases involving sexual allegations, past and present. It’s far easier for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service simply to kick the failed prosecution into the long grass and hope no-one asks any awkward questions.

True, there are a few small charities and support groups – such as the outstanding Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers (FACT - link here) – which do offer support and advice to victims of false allegations, but, without exception, these organisations are privately funded and staffed by unpaid volunteers. There is no public money provided to aid or support people whose lives have been ruined by greedy liars, fantasists and the plainly delusional. Police, prosecutors and the whole institutional structure of the criminal law simply turn away. After all, there will be no rise in public popularity for those seeking justice for the falsely accused. And public popularity is so important to those who run the system.

Until we, as a society, stop rewarding these liars, fantasists, fraudsters and compensation-grubbers, I fear that the phenomenon of false allegations – and the ever-expanding industry which supports it (including personal injury solicitors who profit from the misery of others) – will never be tackled. In order to restore popular faith in our beleaguered criminal justice system, we urgently need to see evidence that perjury and lying to the police will no longer be tolerated and that compensation payouts made to proven fraudsters will be reclaimed with interest. Criminal actions must have consequences and we need to stop treating innocent people whose lives have been wrecked by false allegations as the ‘wrong’ sort of victims, just because it is the easiest route to take.


  1. As someone who is supporting a loved one, who has been falsely accused and as a consequence wrongly convicted , I fully agree with you Simon. Unless you have lived through this hell, no one fully understands the pain that it causes. Those falsely accused & wrongly convicted are victims of a corrupt justice . One that is driven by a political agenda - to hit conviction rates.

    In years gone by real abuse has been ignored by the police, and so as a reaction the govt told potential complainants (not victims are per Sir Henriques report) that they will be believed. Then the added element of compensation came into play.

    The police/cPS are reluctant to prosecute false accusers as it will there again prove to the public how corrupt the justice system is and how unsafe many allegations/convictions are, plus how the police/CPS fail the accused !

    The saddest part is that people are taking their lives as a result of being falsely accused. As a mother of a son - I am so aware of how someone can make a false allegation against him at any time in the future. Those of us who have been personally affected by a false allegation personally - need to keep speaking out about the injustice of it all. Only by speaking out and making the public aware of what does go on within the justice system (although the media are now reporting false allegations/non disclosure issues more ) can we help to protect and educate current and future generations of the potential dangers of being falsely accused.

    There are support groups for those falsely accused , but no official body. In time I hope that this will change as now it is becoming glaringly obvious that the justice system fails many, many, many innocent people .

  2. Julie, yes - as a partner of someone who was falsely accused and recently wrongly convicted by a lopsided jury o f 9 women / 3 men, I understand exactly what you mean. What's sad in my partner's situation is that the friend of the accuser also made a false accusation of rape that was NFA'd after a 3 month investigation. We kept waiting for the other accusation to be NFA'd but it never came, and now he is facing up to 8 years in prison.

    The system is set up to lock them up and throw away the key, as my partner's legal aid appointed team gave up on the 2nd day of the trail and told him to not even bother testifying as "the jury won't like you". Now he is trying to appeal with only 6 days left and the same legal team told him not to bother, even though he has 16 points concerning his trial and legal team that he wants considered. I'm not British so it's been a crash course for me and I'm also half a world away. I don't know how to help or what to do - and with him being in prison he has limited time to contact and limited access to resources.

    I'm so disheartened by the British legal system...it is beyond my ability to comprehend how the country that gave us Magna Carta now offers kangaroo court justice when it comes to sexual offenses. The system is so blatantly stacked in favor of the complainant and unfair, it is extraordinary that the government has not had a case brought against it for human rights violations.

    I've decided this is my new life's mission, to work to get these laws changed as I cannot imagine how many innocent people, like my partner, are sitting in jail due to someone's attempt to "save face" (accuser had cheated on her boyfriend with my partner, this incident happened six months before I met him) or due to someone's hazy memory. It's just horrifying, how on earth is this "justice"??