What constitutes abuse?

And how can it be proved either way?

9 messages
09/11/2012 at 18:38

Yes, I've been saying just this.

What concerns me most is that REAL abuse.... rape and other forced or violoent sexual contact, as you say.... becomes diluted by placing lesser, allbeit horrible, behaviour in a similar category.

Ye Olde Dragon    pirate
09/11/2012 at 19:20

I think that there is something of a difference between the predatory abuse of those who are forceful, violent or even grooming and taking advantage of children, and the kind of harrassment that KK is talking about.

Having said that, it is in the perception and impact on the recipient of the attention. In my experience (professional not personal), some people who have been exploited and abused in ways that are just not acceptable don't have lasting issues. Others who have been no more than touched innapropriately are left with long term issues that ruin their lives. 

The media attention on the North Wales care homes and the Jimmy Saville thing is bringing up issues for people that have lain dormant for (sometimes) many years. A similar thing happened when Childline was launched. 

What I'm trying to say, is that it's very individual, some people shrug it off and cope, others don't. 

09/11/2012 at 19:47

And for some it lingers in the background for years and then comes back to bite them when they aren't expecting it.


Ultra AJH    pirate
10/11/2012 at 07:45
I don't think you can distinguish between different events when you look at the effects it has on someone. Like YOD says its the effect it has on the recipient that is important.

Brushing something off cos it happened on a pissed night out is something some people can't do, anymore than you could could brush off being groped by your drunk uncle at family party when you were much younger for example......still alcohol. Still someone behaving in appropriately . Still someone taking control of the situation away from you. And as always it could turn worse.
10/11/2012 at 09:35

Agree with what Ultra says, the more you brush off as drunk behaviour, the more the boundaries of the groper will expand.

10/11/2012 at 11:09

Section 3 [Sexual Offences Act 2003] makes it an offence for a person (A) intentionally to touch sexually another person (B) without that person’s consent, if he does not reasonably believe that B consents.

The meaning of “touching” is explained at section 79(8); “sexual” is defined at section 78. The effect of these sections is that the offence covers a wide range of behaviour including, for example, rubbing up against someone's private parts through the person’s clothes for sexual gratification.

So, 'sexual' touching is an offence (if you did not give your consent), regardless of whether or not you deem it to be.  Whether you report it is up to you.

10/11/2012 at 16:27

The law is fairly clear; (as Happychap points out) it is the proving it that is complex. For example, as above, where someone is supposedly 'messing around' and alcohol is involved. I have done some stuff whilst drunk that I would not like to justify in the morning. But have never unlawfully touched someone. It is difficult to know why juries come to the decisions that they do (unless the Judge discovers that they have used an Ouija board to ask the victim! It has been done!) but many juries seem to think that a man can assume that silence is consent, and that if a woman is drunk then she is somehow asking for it. I also remember reading that a man is more likely to be convicted of a sexual offence with a male dominated jury than a female dominated one! (should be able to find references for the above statements if anyone is interested) I suspect that many guilty parties get away with their crimes because of a reluctance to report and prosecute potential offenders. As the Jimmy Saville story graphically illustrates

11/11/2012 at 20:28

People who report touching without consent to the police will be supported. Not sure talk of REAL abuse is helpful, as if there are 'degrees of illegality'. Although a report is treated seriously, the defendants may not be convicted. If you are on a jury and think someone is probably guilty, you are required to return a verdict of 'not guilty' - 'probably' is not enough. It is only if you are sure that you can. Can be difficult with one word against another. Some are easier to prove. There is nothing wrong with having a legal system 'weighted in favour of the defendant' as some critics say. Wouldn't have it any other way. It is better that 10 guilty people go free than one innocent person gets convicted.

14/11/2012 at 15:33

This whole area has become a little complex of note. Its easy to jump to conclusions when only one side of any story is out there. I would never try to condone any evil act perpetrated on any other, neither would I want to join a lynch mob on the basis of heresay.


There are times when it seems that to suggest a balanced and careful approach to things is tantermount to supporting the accused.

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