I am a gay man from the Netherlands. During a visit to London as a tourist the summer of 2009 my drink was spiked, I was robbed and sexually assaulted by a member of gang targeting gay men. I would like to share my experience appealing against the decisions of the CICA because this may be of use to victims of drug-rape.
I decided to apply for compensation two month after the incident when I realised the police investigation was not going any further. It was the only thing left for me to do.
My application was rejected by the CICA 6 month after applying. They wrote: “It was several days after you reported the theft before you then advised the Police of the sexual assault. l have considered whether his could be related to drugs, however, there is no evidence available to us that shows you were administered recreational drugs, or any date-rape type drugs.” By this time I knew of lab-results showing Diazepam in my urine so I decided to ask for a review. I also further explained the delay in reporting the sexual assault.
To my dismay my review application was rejected in this manner: “We have checked with the police who confirmed that you had a trace of diazepam in your urine….
… you did not see anyone administer anything to your drink ….
in addition, it is noted that you did not inform the police of the sexual assault allegation until around 4 days after you reported the theft.”
This was infuriating. “you did not see anyone administer anything to your drink” What kind of a fool was I taken for? My arguments about the delay in reporting were ignored. I was devastated knowing that appealing would entail attending a hearing. This meant going back to London, something very hard for me to do. In the end I did decide to appeal.
Later on I was sent the hearing bundle. I was shocked by part of the police report. “…the victim does appear delusional…” This confirmed my feeling that my allegation had not been taken seriously. On top of this I now read the officer’s comment to the CICA. “Mr B. stated that he was a willing party when ‘R.’ rubbed his groin. Mr B. did not object to this and in fact stated that he found it pleasurable. No complaint was made regarding the rub of groin but only the subsequent action…. The findings of the toxicology tests do not change my opinion of Mr B.’s allegation.”
Was this the result of being totally open and honest to the police in giving them a very detailed statement? He basically said I should blame myself for what had happened. From this I very much doubted my chances in appealing, as well as feeling embarrassed about the details shown.
By march 2011 the hearing took place in London. A caseworker from GALOP accompanied me for “moral support”. The hearing took 3 hours. Early on a member of the panel started questioning me in a rude way, using four letter words. My caseworker spoke out on this. This intervention did help, the tone was less sharp from then on.
I was lucky to have my case reopened by the police after I read news reports on similar cases 1 year after my incident. It was investigated by a different officer, I was able to get him attend to give evidence in my hearing.
There was a misconception both on the side of the police and the Authority on the effects drugging. The solicitor from the Authority claimed that the effect would be immediate, not gradual. This was vital to her argument; it would mean my drink was spiked after the sexual assault. This would have implications on the issue of consent.
Very important to winning my case was a “diary of events” I had written 5 days after the incident. The process of writing everything I could remember of the events on that night triggered my memory and made me recall the sexual assault. It also helped to piece together the events and filling in some of the blanks. From the start what had been foremost on my mind was finding out what had happened during the time I had “lost” due to the amnesia.
I advise any victim of drink-spiking to do like me. Write down on paper all you can remember in a chronological order. It helps to get back some sense of control. It may also help by giving more detailed information to the police for their investigation.
Part of the written reasons on the decision from the Appeal Panel:
“ His diary of events corroborates his statement .. the later reporting of the sexual assault to the Police, so far from being inconsistent, is entirely in keeping with what would be expected following the administration of Diazepam.
…There is no realistic possibility of Diazepam taking effect instantly upon being ingested… The history of gradually diminishing recall is much more likely”
From applying for compensation to finally winning my case in a hearing took 18 months. I am glad I did persevere. It was a very challenging but also very rewarding to finally getting acknowledgment on what happened. The money was less important but did come in handy.
It has helped me to cope with the incident. It was beneficial for my recovery. Ultimately [as with any crime involving sexual violence] it was about loss of power – control. Going through the process of applying, review and appealing has given me back a sense of control over my life. I did accomplish this and it has helped restoring my self confidence.
I do hope this information can help others going through this process.