A YOUNG woman who alleges she was raped by a man in York has told of her upset and frustration after police decided no charges should be brought.

The York woman said she “almost feels more let down and angry about the police than I do about the person who raped me”.

North Yorkshire Police told the woman it was not referring the case to the Crown Prosecution Service because her alleged assailant had denied the offence, and there was no supportive evidence.

The force, which upheld the decision on review, said: “As it stands, there is no evidence which would allow us to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either the account given by yourself or that given by the suspect is able to be proven. In these cases, the required standard is not met and cannot proceed. There needs to be a realistic prospect of conviction for the police to refer a case to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision.”

But the woman said: “It should at least be to the CPS to decide. I think not allowing it to go to a jury is taking away any chance of justice even happening. This leaves me massively frustrated and upset. It’s really impacted my mental health, the news of the police dropping the appeal was extremely difficult to deal with and I’ve had to have a lot of support with it.

“The police took my clothes, my phone, gave me a medical exam, closed my room off for investigation and I completed a video interview, which all left me feeling exposed with no dignity left. The process alone was traumatising in itself and for these reasons alone I feel it’s unfair they wouldn’t even let the CPS make their own decision.

“I feel like the current system needs tearing down and being rebuilt. It offers more protection for the offenders than support for the victims. There is no chance of gaining any form of justice in the system as it is now and it causes more harm than it does good.

“If a case was dropped every time an offender denied their crime, then there would be no criminals in this country.”

York Central MP Rachael Maskell said she had unfortunately supported a number of women in this situation and she believed the law should be re-examined, with consideration for a reversal in the burden of proof.

She said the current law was failing women and girls and as a result perpetrators of sexual crime were emboldened to reoffend and women placed at further risk. “The issue rests on the police being able to evidence that non-consensual sex did occur, when the accused states that their actions were with consent. This is often interpreted by the police as one person’s word against another, despite forensic evidence being gathered.”

Rape Crisis UK said there were “serious failures” within the police and CPS in investigating and prosecuting rape and sexual assault.

“We are very concerned to see police routinely mis-apply the law on corroboration when deciding whether the case passes the evidential threshold for charge or referral to the CPS,” it said. “The requirement for corroborating evidence in sexual offences was abolished in 1994, and as such a credible account from a complainant can and should form the basis of a criminal prosecution.”

  • North Yorkshire Police was asked by The Press to respond to the woman’s concerns about its decision not to refer her case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

It said that help was available 24/7 to anyone in York and North Yorkshire who had been raped or sexually assaulted, and all victims would be treated with dignity and respect by North Yorkshire Police.

“We appreciate that telling the police what has happened takes great courage,” said a spokesperson for the force.

“Everyone who reports a rape or sexual assault to North Yorkshire Police is given support from a specially-trained officer.

“We also work very closely with other organisations to ensure victims receive the highest level of practical and emotional help.

“Rape is an extremely serious offence, and can be very complex to investigate.

“We work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to make sure that the cases we present to them are as strong as possible.”

The spokesperson urged anyone who had been a victim of a sexual offence to report it to the police. “Although it is not always possible to put an offender before the courts, it is still important that you are offered specialist advice and support,” they said.

“Your information could also protect other victims, by allowing us to form a wider picture of offending.”