Government’s rape tsar claims there is ‘no point to ever reporting rape to the police again’ as she quits Britain to return to the US – and slams being used as a ‘rubber stamp’ whose advice was ‘ignored’
- EXCLUSIVE: Emily Hunt says police ‘won’t do anything’ if she were to report rape
The Government’s rape tsar has told MailOnline she has been left feeling there is ‘no point’ to reporting rape to the police because they ‘won’t do anything about it’ as she quit her job and slammed officials for using her as a ‘rubber stamp’.
Emily Hunt, the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) independent adviser to its Rape Review, says she no longer has faith in the British criminal justice system and has even been questioned by police officers when providing them with official statistics showing 98 percent of rape victims are telling the truth.
She had been appointed to provide the MoJ provide with specialist advice on victims of rape and their experiences of the criminal justice system after she reported being drugged and raped herself in 2015.
After five years, the stranger was handed a suspended sentence for voyeurism after breaching an indefinite restraining order – but was never charged with rape because the CPS concluded there was insufficient evidence.
Ms Hunt has now given up on trying to change the UK legal system’s attitude to rape and is moving back to the US because she doesn’t feel safe in London.
Emily Hunt, the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) independent adviser to its Rape Review, sensationally quit the role
Ms Hunt said that her attacker’s sentencing left her feeling as if there was ‘no point to ever reporting anything to the police again’.
She added: ‘That’s how I felt then and how I feel now, maybe it’ll change in the future.
‘But I just didn’t feel like there was a point in reporting a crime to the police. And I do still have this person out there, my attacker who’s previously harassed me online after everything else.
‘I don’t feel safe in a place where if something happens to me, my first thought is, well, the police won’t do anything about it.’
Ms Hunt had approached the Government to offer her insight into how the justice system examines cases of rape and sexual assault after her own nightmarish experience of pursuing justice.
She was tasked to advise the government on the Rape Review and Action Plan, launched in June 2021.
It was launched in a bid to address low charge and conviction rates and ‘improve the response to victims at every stage’.
In 2015, Ms Hunt awoke naked in a hotel room with a stranger who she suspected had drugged and raped her. She later discovered the man, Christopher Killick, had also filmed her while she was unconscious.
After a lengthy five-year battle, Killock was convicted of voyeurism – but not rape charges because the CPS found there was not enough evidence to pursue a prosecution.
Earlier this year, he was handed a suspended jail term after flouting a restraining order. Judge Noel Carey handed Killick a 14-month prison sentence suspended for two years, a 35-day rehabilitation requirement and 160 hours unpaid work.
At the time, Ms Hunt said she lived in fear of him turning up on her doorstep, adding: ‘I’ve had to install security cameras, I have a baseball bat in my bedroom by the door.’
Killick is under a indefinite restraining order which bans him from contacting Ms Hunt via her personal website, social media and in person.
Her personal experience was what inspired her to become an independent adviser to the government on rape and sexual violence in 2020.
Emily Hunt approached the government to offer her services as an advisor on how rape and sexual assault is dealt with in the justice system
But Ms Hunt has said she felt increasingly uncomfortable in her role for the past 18 months before ultimately quitting – claiming officials see her as a ‘rubber stamp’ who they can ‘ignore’.
READ MORE: Police forces in England and Wales record the highest ever number of rapes and sexual offences in 2022
She said that she continued for 18 months because she ‘thought there was the possibility to see things go the right way.’
‘They haven’t and I don’t have it in me to keep banging my head against the wall.
‘It is heartbreaking for me to be leaving in this way.
‘I can’t keep feeling like I’m being used as a rubber stamp, to say: “We’ve consulted with Emily – tick. We haven’t listened to her. We haven’t done anything with her. We’ve asked what her ideas are and ignored them.” And that’s very much what it has felt like for quite a while now.’
She also described how rape myths persist in police forces and the civil service, revealing she was questioned by police officers when quoting official statistics.
‘I was recently in a conversation with police officers. I often quote that 97 to 98 percent of the time, if somebody says they’ve been raped, they’ve been raped, which [comes] from the Home Office and the 98 percent is from the CPS on previously published research,’ she said.
‘And I actually had a police officer say, with some disbelief, “Where did you get that from? What’s that number? Where did you get that from?”
‘It’s like, well, I’m an actual expert. I’ve written the book.’
Ms Hunt also said that it is ‘clear from lots of conversations’ she has had that civil servants believe ‘in rape myth.’
‘I have been in rooms where people just don’t seem to understand rape, its impacts, what causes rape, and how we need to move forward,’ Ms Hunt told MailOnline.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Ms Hunt said that she had come across people who ‘innately believe in rape myth’ at the highest levels.
She told anchor Cathy Newman: ‘It’s going to sound silly but fundamentally we need to remember that the Government and all of the operational partners from the police to the prosecutors to the judges, they’re all just people.
‘People innately believe in rape myth. So, you have people going through their day-to-day lives who believe that: “Oh, well, maybe her skirt was too short. Maybe she was drinking.”
‘I have more come across it more within the professional and civil service side. I’d say that ministers are more careful around me.’
Despite quitting her role and planning to return to America, Ms Hunt expressed her feelings around leaving her ‘home’ England, because she doesn’t ‘feel protected’.
She said: ‘I’ve lived in London longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. My daughter was born here, this is home, but I just don’t feel safe here. And so I’m gonna go, and it’s terrifying. This is home, and I am leaving home because I don’t feel protected.’
Christopher Killick was convicted of voyeurism in 2020 after Ms Hunt woke up naked in a hotel room next to him. Prosecutors chose not to pursue rape charges due to a lack of evidence
Earlier this year, a findings report found the Government was ‘making significant progress’ towards its target of more than doubling the number of adult rape cases reaching court.
READ MORE: ‘The rape detection rate is so low you may as well say it’s legal in London’: Review exposes how victims were made to feel like an ‘inconvenience’ by overworked and inexperienced Met Police officers
Ms Hunt also said: ‘I fundamentally believe that when you report a crime to the police, you’re expecting there to be a criminal justice outcome. People don’t report rape to the police to be heard or to get it off their chest. It’s because they are taking a super brave step, putting themselves out there to help make sure that a dangerous criminal can go to jail.
‘And we’re not doing that. In my case, the sentencing was for breach of restraining order. My attacker got a suspended sentence for breaching a restraining order after breaching bail, after breaching, blah, blah, blah, it’s just all more court orders.
‘It’s all saying, “Can you please behave now? Right? You haven’t behaved, can you please behave now?” It’s just not good enough for victims.’
Ms Hunt also commented on the fact that England and Wales, as of last year, does not have a Victims’ Commissioner. Dame Vera Baird concluded her term as Victims’ Commissioner on 30 September 2022.
She said: ‘We are a year into not having a Victims Commissioner after a lengthy process that didn’t result in anyone. And this is during the Victims and Prisoners bill. When we really needed proper advocacy for victims. ‘
Charities including The Survivors’ Trust have spoken about Ms Hunt’s resignation.
Fay Maxted OBE, Chief Executive Officer at The Survivors Trust, told MailOnline: ‘As an umbrella agency for specialist voluntary sector rape and sexual abuse support services, The Survivors Trust welcomed Emily Hunt’s strong, victim-focussed and independent input as adviser to the Government’s Rape Review.
‘We are therefore saddened to hear of Emily’s resignation.
‘Whilst there are currently a lot of national initiatives intended to improve justice outcomes for victims and survivors of rape – including Operation Soteria with the police, the Victim Transformation Programme with the Crown Prosecution Service, the Law Commission Consultation on Evidence in Sexual Offences and the Victims’ and Prisoners’ Bill – the current system undoubtedly doesn’t work for victims.
MailOnline spoke to Ms Hunt about what she experienced in her role, where revealed that she was questioned by police officers when quoting official statistics
‘Myths and stereotypes about rape continue to be rife amongst the general population and continue to create a hostile environment for victims/survivors who are seeking help and justice.
‘What this means is that victims and survivors do not get the justice they deserve and many will continue to live with the impact of the trauma they’ve experienced. The improvements promised by all of these national initiatives can’t happen soon enough.’
Claire Bloor, chief executive of sexual abuse support charity SARSAS, told MailOnline: ‘We are saddened to learn of Emily Hunt’s resignation from her role of independent adviser for the government’s Rape Review.
‘As an organisation that campaigns to end gender-based violence, we feel disappointed to have lost such a positive voice within the field.
‘While we can’t comment on Emily’s own individual experiences of senior level police and the civil service, we agree that the system needs to change if victim-survivors are to get the justice they deserve.
‘Sadly, we know that rape myths, including victim-blaming, remain present in every part of our society, which is also something we continuously seek to change.
‘We feel lucky to have Avon & Somerset Police’s specialist rape investigation team (now part of Operation Soteria Bluestone) working alongside us and our clients.
‘However, whilst this is a positive change, and something we believe should be part of every police force, we agree much more needs to be done.’
A recruitment campaign to find a new adviser is due to launch later this year. Ms Hunt was invited to reapply for her role, but she has chosen not to.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said of Ms Hunt’s resignation: ‘We thank Emily Hunt for her valuable work over the last two years, supporting the Government in exceeding all three ambitions of our Rape Review ahead of schedule.
‘We remain determined to stamp out these appalling crimes, making sure the criminal justice system supports victims and holds perpetrators to account.’
MailOnline have contacted the Ministry of Justice for a comment.
- If you need to speak to somebody, there is a 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line for victims of rape and sexual abuse in England which you can call free on 0808 500 2222
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