Suffolk rape victim finally feels vindicated after court believes she was attacked
- Credit: Archant
After nearly a decade fighting for acknowledgement that she was raped after having her drink spiked Anita Grinham finally feels vindicated today.
The 43-year-old, who lives just outside Ipswich, said she was left feeling like a liar after her assailant was arrested following the assault in July 2008, but never prosecuted due to a lack of forensic evidence.
The mother-of-four was attacked in her bedroom following a night out. She reported the assault five weeks later.
Suffolk Constabulary has previously acknowledged the standard of the original investigation into Ms Grinham’s complaint was “inadequate”.
However, she continued to battle for an official acknowledgement that she had been raped by making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
After winning a court ruling, the matter was taken through an appeals process by the CICA until the final appeal tribunal in London upheld earlier rulings.
Speaking about her fight Ms Grinham said: “I’ve had to go to hell and back to prove I was right.
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“I got angry and that’s probably my saving grace. I thought ‘I’m not having this’.
“If I know I’m right, I’m right. I will stand up for what I believe.
“This has got nothing to do with money. It’s that I have been raped.
“I’m really angry because I’ve been abused in my home and I feel no one has taken it seriously.
“I don’t think I’m ever going to get over it. I’m fuming.”
Ms Grinham said her life and her health have been deeply affected since the attack.
This includes suffering from insomnia and panic attacks.
Her anger deepens when she sees the perpetrator – who has been charged in the past with indecent assault and other offences - still walking around Ipswich.
She said: “Shame on him. Shame on the police. I want him to know while he is walking around I have not forgotten.”
A CICA spokeswoman said: “We deeply sympathise with all victims of crime, but cannot comment on individual cases.
“Compensation can be paid without an offender being caught or convicted, and we closely assess each case using all available evidence.
“Applicants can apply for a review if they feel their case was not fairly assessed, bringing it to a tribunal if necessary.”
Anne-Marie Breach, a Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman, said: “The original investigation into Ms Grinham’s complaint recognised that the standard of investigation into her criminal allegation was inadequate, and that the service provided was not up to the requisite standard.
“While no misconduct was identified, the IPCC made recommendations including that advice be given to investigator’s supervisors, which was carried out in 2012. A formal apology was also made in writing at this time.
“Suffolk Constabulary treats the investigation of rape and other serious sexual offences as one of its priorities and has continued to build on the changes that took place after 2008.
“The specialist rape investigation teams remain in place and there has been significant investment by the constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner in increasing the numbers of investigators in these teams.
“The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) now provides a high quality service to both adult and child victims of these offences and combines much better medical facilities with enhanced victim support provision through the use of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors who are able to support and guide victims following a rape and help them through the Criminal Justice process if required.”
Jane Basham, director of Suffolk Rape Crisis, said she could not talk about Ms Grinham’s case specifically but added: “We need to get to a place where women and girls feel confident to come forward and feel confident they will be believed. The reality is the impact of sexual violence lasts a lifetime.
“This idea of being believed is so important.”
Ms Basham believes Suffolk Constabulary is striving to improve its detection rate for sex crimes and the way it supports victims of rape.
She said: “The police are listening.”
Suffolk Rape Crisis’ telephone number is Ipswich 231200. Its helpline is open Tuesdays and Thursday from 7pm to 9pm on 0800 0850 520.