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Claim against police for failure to investigate rape allegations

If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault and you feel that the police authority have failed to act appropriately in investigating your claim or have dismissed your complaint without proper investigation then, if it can be shown this led to your detriment, you may be entitled to an award of compensation.

The action is framed under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act which relates to inhuman or degrading treatment. Recent Court decisions have stated that a failure to investigate such matters can fall within this aspect of the Act.

This does not give rise to a claim against the police in relation to crimes that they could have prevented had greater or more efficient detective work been carried out (this was decided in the case of Hill v. Chief Constable of West Yorkshire*) however in certain instances and dependent upon the facts such a claim may be possible.

This is of course subject to any attempt by the Government to abolish The Human Rights Act as has been stated by the new Minister of Justice Sir Michael Gove.

* this case related to the failure of the police to arrest the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe sooner that they did and a subsequent claim by the motherof one of the later victims that their failure to apprehend Sutcliffe when he was first questioned led to the murder of her mother and that this failure resulted in an actionable breach of duty – the courts disagreed.