[h2]Women who report being drugged and raped to the police have very little chance of seeing their attacker going to court, figures show.[/h2]
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Rohypnol can be detected in urine for days after it is taken
Data obtained under the freedom of information act reveals a mere 1% of alleged drug rape cases end up with a conviction and that only 3% are even prosecuted.
The national rate for overall rape convictions is 7%.
Only around a third of police forces in England, Scotland and Wales were able to provide statistics specifically on drug rape allegations – but it was enough to paint a worrying picture.
Drug rape is often hard to prove as a victim will often have suffered memory loss and may have appeared compliant at the time of the incident - meaning they are considered an unreliable witness.
Evidence that might support the theory they have been drugged is crucial, but Sky News also found that only 13% of people who report drink-spiking go on to be drug tested.
This is despite tests being available which could help provide evidence at any future trial.
Often they are told by police it is too late for the tests to work, even though experts have confirmed that the tests can still be effective days after the event.
Mike Scott Ham, leading toxicologist for the Forensic Science Service, said of date-rape drugs: "Most of them hang around for quite a long time.
"Rohypnol is actually one of the easier ones to detect.
"Myself and several colleagues have taken Rohypnol, and given urine samples over a period of time to see how long we can detect it for.
Not all victims are given drug tests
"In everyone it was detected at four days and in some it was detected at seven days."
He went on to say that hair tests could provide reliable evidence weeks after the event.
A possible reason for the low level of testing is the cost.
Forces have to pay around £1,000 per test and more often than not they come back negative for drugs and positive for alcohol.
But former Detective Chief Superintendant Dave Gee, a leading adviser on drug rape to the Home Office, says potential victims should always be tested.
"I think where the allegation is made - or where it is suspected - every time samples should be taken."
He admitted there was a problem with some officers' attitudes to victims.
He said: "There are a few doubters out there who say a lot of these things are made up you know; a lot of false allegations.
"But there's no evidence from any source to support that."
6:15pm UK, Wednesday June 10, 2009
Jason Farrell, Five News
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