In the eye of the storm: police decision making and the management of rape allegations

This talk draws on research on rape allegations over eight years in the Metropolitan Police.

Speaker: Professor Betsy Stanko OBE

Professor Betsy Stanko is Head, Evidence and Insight, Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in London.  For over a decade, she worked inside Corporate Development, London Metropolitan Police Service, establishing a social research function alongside performance analysis.  In her first life, she was a professor of criminology, teaching and researching at Clark University (USA), Brunel University, Cambridge University and Royal Holloway, University of London (where she is an Emeritus Professor of Criminology).  She has published over 80 books and articles over her academic career.  The most cited of these works is Intimate Intrusions:  Women’s Experiences of Male Violence, published in 1985, and reissued as an ebook by Routledge in 2013. She has been awarded a number of lifetime achievement awards from the American Society of Criminology, most notably the Vollmer Award (1996), recognising outstanding influence of her academic work on criminal justice practice.   From 1997-2002 she was the Director of the ESRC Violence Research Programme.  In 2002, she joined the Cabinet Office, in the Prime Minister’s Office of Public Services Reform.  In 2013 she was a member of the Adebowale Commission on Mental Health and Policing.  She is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, a visiting scholar at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Professor at UCL.  She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours List.


This talk draws on research on rape allegations over eight years in the Metropolitan Police. The talk will place this research in a wider context of the DPP’s Rape Action Plan and the continuous discussion on sexual exploitation in light of the Savile revelations.  The historical national scandals about sexual exploitation provides the context for this talk which asks the audience to consider whether there has been a change in public understanding of rape and sexual abuse. There has recently been much public debate about ‘rape culture’; for example, the heated exchanges about the possible signing of Ched Evans to play football following his conviction and imprisonment for rape rages. Day in and day out many women and some men report rape.  What does this tell us about justice? And what does this tell us about the persistent normalisation of sexual exploitation?


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