POLICE treatment of an alleged rape victim was condemned as “degrading, obscene, and shameful” yesterday.
Officers were accused of forcing the woman to strip naked in a cell with the door open and breaching other guidelines on the treatment of rape victims.
Politicians and campaigners warned claims against Northern Constabulary could deter sex attack victims in the Highlands from coming forward.
The 22-year-old woman reported being raped by a Dutch oil worker in June this year in Lybster, Caithness.
He was staying at a hotel where she worked and she served him dinner on the evening before the alleged attack.
After her shift, she went for a drink with colleagues and bumped into the oil worker before going back to a B&B for a party.
The woman says the Dutchman made a pass that was rebuffed but he later pushed her into one of the bedrooms.
She said: “He was a very big, strong guy and there was no way I could fight him off. I said over and over again, ‘No, I don’t want this’ and begged him to stop.”
Two officers sent to the scene took more than three hours to arrive.
Guidelines issued by ACPOS, the body made up of Scotland’s chief police officers, say any report of rape must be dealt with immediately.
Officers also refused to allow the woman’s mother to comfort her while she made her statement and wouldn’t let her go home to sleep after enduring a medical exam for forensic evidence.
The man she accused was questioned and released by police within hours of the incident being reported.
He flew home the next day but his alleged victim – who was bravely willing to be named but who we have chosen not to identify – only found that out when her mum was told at the post office.
When the woman was brought back to the station at Wick to make a further statement, she was accused of making up the story.
Two weeks later police put her in handcuffs on her own doorstep and warned she could be charged with wasting police time.
And at the police station in Wick, she suffered the humiliation of having to remove every item of clothing as people walked past the open door.
The woman left Scotland after her ordeal and returned to Canada where her family used to live.
She said: “Being raped was the worst thing that has happened to me but it got even worse because of the way the police dealt with it.
“I didn’t think this sort of thing could happen any longer in Scotland. I still can’t believe it.
“Women will not report rape if they can be treated like this. Politicians must force change.”
Last night Labour justice spokeswoman Johann Lamont said: “These are highly disturbing reports and must be fully investigated.
“If correct, this is degrading, obscene and frankly a shame on those involved.
“Women face enough challenges when reporting rape but to be betrayed by the very people they turn to is shocking.”
Northern Constabulary said they could not discuss individual cases.
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Police in Scottish Highlands condemned after making rape victim strip in open cell
The Daily Record reports: