UK: ‘It’s a power game’: students accused in university rape hearings call in lawyers

Article here. Excerpt:

'Parents of male students accused of rape at university are starting to bring in barristers to help them avoid expulsion, the Observer has learned.

As the number of serious sexual assaults escalates across universities, experts say female students often do not want to go to the police, fearing delays and traumatising questioning, and knowing only 1% of rape cases end in conviction. Universities say increasing numbers of women are instead turning to them to investigate, leaving institutions wrestling with complex cases, including a rising trend of pornography-inspired strangulation during sex.

Prof Sir Steve West, the vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England and president of Universities UK until earlier this year, said: “As expulsion is a penalty, parents of the accused often start to raise the stakes by hiring a lawyer. It is a power game, because usually the victim has no representation, and I think it is completely unacceptable and unfair.”

West said that parents “rarely tell us that they’re going to do this in advance”, typically turning up with a lawyer to the final student conduct committee hearing. He worries that this will “drive silence”, with victims frightened of being subjected to exactly the sort of adversarial investigation they wanted to avoid by not complaining to the police.

He added: “There is a huge inequality here, which is a big issue. Barristers are not cheap, and only certain families can afford them.”'

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And yet, they can't assign one to their all-important alleged rape cases? Or can't talk to parents of accused boys about if they plan to get one? Yes, it is a power game all right. It's a big rich university vs. a boy who's probably been falsely accused of the crime of rape all for doing anything from looking too long at a girl to thinking it was ok to kiss her. Believe it or not a fair number of college campuses indeed call these actions "sexual assault" and accuse boys of same in kangaroo court hearings like ones described herein.

Makes me very glad I'm not nearly of college age anymore.

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