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Petition Change the Sexual Offences Act so women can be charged with rape against males

Change the current legal definition of rape to also include male victims of women. Amend the current legislation that does not allow a woman to be charged with rape against male sexual abuse victims.

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In the current social climate we have came on leaps and bounds striving for equality between genders. However the fact a woman cannot be prosecuted for rape under the current UK legal system is not only a disservice to this strive for gender equality. It is also a kick in the face to all male victims of sexual abuse who are made to feel that their abuse is less important than a woman’s as a man cannot pursue genuine legal justice for the ordeal they were made to undergo. This must change.

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Government responded

This response was given on 31 March 2020

All non-consensual sexual activity is dealt with by specific serious offences, including those that can be committed by a man or a woman. We have no plans to amend the legal definition of rape.

Read the response in full

Victims of rape and sexual violence show immense courage in coming forward – and they must have confidence that the right support will be there when it is needed.

All non-consensual sexual activity is dealt with by specific serious offences, including those that can be committed by a man or a woman. The sentences available are significant and reflect the seriousness of the offending.

Sexual violence against men is treated just as seriously by the law and forcing a man to have penetrative sex, for example, (under section 4(4) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) carries the same maximum sentence as rape – life in prison.

Issues surrounding the definition of rape were considered and consulted on prior to the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and, during the passage of that legislation through Parliament. In the consultation there was a considerable amount of agreement that rape should remain an offence of penile penetration.

We therefore have no plans to amend the legal definition of rape in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as suggested by this e-petition, but make it clear that behaviour captured under S.4(4) carries a life sentence unlike under S.4(5)s

Rape and sexual abuse support services across England and Wales have been awarded increased government funding totalling £24m over 3 years to help even more victims. The money will go towards a range of services, providing free tailored support and counselling to help victims cope with and, as far as possible, recover from these horrific crimes.

Among the services receiving funding are a national helpline and a webchat service for male victims following a significant rise in the number of men and boys coming forward to report crimes and access support.

Funding will also see the number of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) areas with government-funded male support centres nearly quadruple from 11 to 41. This is in addition to the £68m provided this year to PCCs to commission support for victims based on local need. We remain committed to tackling sexual offending in all its forms.

Ministry of Justice

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