Author: has written 5301 posts for this blog.

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

7 Responses

  1. Anne
    Anne April 10, 2006 at 9:44 am |

    This just blows my mind.

    It is one thing to know that here in the States rape goes unreported or that when it is reported it can turn into a grueling battle, but I could not imagine reporting a rape and then having my assailant admit to it, but then be released with something akin to a slap on the wrist.


    Cautioning is posting signs in public areas to warn people: “CAUTION: RAPISTS ARE GOING FREE.”

  2. jeffliveshere
    jeffliveshere April 10, 2006 at 10:23 am |

    This is pretty insidious as well:

    Fewer than 6% of rape cases reported to the police result in a conviction.

  3. Gabriel Malor
    Gabriel Malor April 10, 2006 at 12:10 pm |

    I’m glad you saw that Jill. There was a similar article about the increase in the use of “cautions” last month. Here it is. (Actually, reform of the criminal system in London has been a major topic for the last month. A lot of focus has been given to the use of cautions.)

    I wanted to send it your way at the time–it uses the example of a drunk boyfriend bashing in his girlfriends front door, though it has no mention of what happens to the girl next.

    Anyways, the guidelines for the use of cautions (from the article):

    The offender must have admitted guilt, be willing to submit to the conditions of the caution and if there is a victim to pay reparations to, he or she must be willing for that to happen.

    I’m wondering if that’s bad writing or the actual law. Must he or she pay the “reparations” or must he or she be willing to pay?

  4. piny
    piny April 10, 2006 at 12:28 pm |

    The offender must have admitted guilt, be willing to submit to the conditions of the caution and if there is a victim to pay reparations to, he or she must be willing for that to happen.

    Yes, this was really confusing.

    It sounds like this means that that victim has to agree to receive compensation? But that doesn’t seem to jibe with the complaints quoted in the article, which made it seem like the “caution” option was not one the victim had any say in offering.

    It sounds like this is an official way to bypass actually trying a rapist–according to one of the law-enforcement officials quoted, it came in real handy when the victim didn’t want to deal with the stress of a trial.

  5. CJ
    CJ April 10, 2006 at 12:51 pm |

    A caution is issued if there is felt not to be in the public good for a trial to take place. This is usually if the crime is so minor it’s not worth the bother, as with being drunk and disorderly or minor drug offences, or if it’s felt that the criminal will die or otherwise be unable to come to trial. Although the caution rate is up it’s still very, very small – it’s the conviction rate that worries me.

  6. Deborah
    Deborah April 10, 2006 at 3:54 pm |

    Now, young man, don’t you rape anyone again or I will shake my finger sternly at you.

  7. Rectrix
    Rectrix April 11, 2006 at 7:49 am |

    Quick comment on the cautions – one thing that isn’t publicised about these is that in a number of cases they are used for minors.

    By this, I mean that minors who rape/abuse other minors may recieve a caution as part of their assessment. This includes working with social services (including psychologists and family therapy units) for hours every week for upwards of two years.

    The advantages of this sytem are that reperation can be made to the victim (a minor) without the requirement to put the them through the process of court appearance and giving evidence. Additionally, it gives social services the chance to treat the offending minor and hopefully prevent them from reoffending – these services are usually not available inside young offenders facilities. Treatment is far more likely to succeed without relapse if it occurs with the support and invovlement of the offender’s family, something which is only possible if the offender is not imprisoned.

    Like many others, I don’t see how a caution could be applicable to an adult. But when dealing with children, I think what i’ve outlined above supports their use.

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.