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Claims in Tort for Rape: A Valuable Remedy or Damaging Strategy?

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Civil claims for rape are relatively unusual, but a few have been successfully pursued. Taking this small group of cases as its backdrop, this article explores tort law's response to rape. It argues that, notwithstanding its gendered limitations, tort law offers a means by which to recognise the wrong of rape and provide redress for the harm caused. This is important in compensating for at least a few of the fallouts from the faults in the criminal justice system, and offering financial recompense and meeting other needs where the criminal justice system has otherwise fulfilled its functions. However, conceptions of rape as a particular crime and related gendered myths have influenced the courts' interpretation and application of tortious rules, and so, to improve tort law's response, it should be emphasised that tortious and not criminal liability is at issue. Exploring alternative avenues of redress such as tort law could spark ideas as to ways to improve the criminal law's response to rape, or means to strengthen additional schemes which meet rape survivors' needs.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/096157611796769532

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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