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Police agree to pay £20,000 to rape victim who tried to kill herself after being arrested

The girl was raped aged 17. Two months later she was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice

By Heather Saul

A police force has apologised to a rape victim and agreed to pay her £20,000 after arresting her following a complaint of sexual assault.

Hampshire Constabulary settled out of court with the woman after she began proceedings against the force under the Human Rights Act, according to the BBC.

The mother of the girl, who was 17 at the time of the attack, said her daughter had tried to kill herself twice after the arrest.

The woman, referred to as Laura, (not her real name) made a complaint of rape in 2012. She told officers that she believed there was forensic evidence on her T-shirt to implicate her attacker.

She was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice when forensic tests on her clothes did not return a result.

But the Crown Prosecution Service ordered it to be re-tested and her attacker was eventually jailed for five years in 2013, Laura’s mother Jackie (also a pseudonym) told the BBC.

Chief Superintendent David Powell, head of Prevention and Neighbourhoods, said the force accepted its handling of the case was “very poor”.

“We are not proud of our initial response,” he said. "We have already personally apologised to the victim and her mother and I repeat here now that we are sorry for how we let her down.

"The initial officers involved did not treat this victim in a way that she or any other victim would deserve to be treated. We deeply regret this."

Addressing other sexual assault victims, he added: "We do believe you, we appreciate how hard it is to come forward to report these offences ... we are doing everything to ensure we never have an initial response like this again."

The force also confirmed that one officer had received a written warning for misconduct, while 10 had received management action.

Additional reporting by PA

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