UK police 'discouraged' woman from pursuing Cyprus rape case

By Simon O'Leary
BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme

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A woman who says she was raped on holiday in Cyprus has told BBC News she was "discouraged" by Police Scotland from pursuing the case.

She said a Scottish man had spiked her drink at a beach party and then raped her in Ayia Napa two years ago.

But when she had told police back home, they had been "dismissive", saying it would be hard to find the man and she had decided not to take further action.

The force said she had been interviewed by specially-trained officers.

Her story comes after a separate British woman was given a suspended sentence earlier this month for lying about being raped by a group of young men.

'Touching my boobs'

Sophie - not her real name - told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme she remembered "going in and out of consciousness" during the rape and had woken up on the beach.

"I was raped just outside the party but even the atmosphere inside was so sexualised," she said.

"Men were touching my boobs.

"It was almost as if the men felt entitled to touch the women, young women.

"It's just the culture there... and it's so not right.

"There were taxi men who would offer free lifts to bars just for girls.

"My friends took one of the free lifts one time and the following night the same taxi men just showed up at our villa unannounced - he touched my boobs.

"After seeing what Ayia Napa was like... and as I didn't know much about the laws there, I didn't feel comfortable going to the police there.

"Especially as the whole place had lots of men being creepy."

'Tough on victims'

Sophie returned to the UK as quickly as possible and went to see a GP, who told her to report the rape to police.

She said they had told her they "could do tests to see if I was drugged but in the end they didn't even do any tests".

"They were very dismissive from the outset," she said.

"They said they'd have to hand over to the Cypriot police.

"I asked them to check if my anonymity would be compromised and they said they didn't know.

"They were discouraging and said it would be difficult to find the rapist, that the courts can be tough on victims and that I'd be scrutinised a lot."

Sophie decided at that point she would not take any further action.

She attended a sexual assault clinic, where swabs were taken for evidence in case she wanted to go back to the authorities in future, but she has yet to do this.

Det Supt Donna Duffy, Greater Glasgow Division, said it was contacted in June 2017 by a woman seeking advice and reporting she may have been the victim of a sexual assault abroad.

"The woman was interviewed by two specially-trained officers from Greater Glasgow Divisional Rape Investigation Unit, however, no formal complaint was made," she said.

"We are unaware of any forensic tests confirming the presence of DNA following a medical examination at a sexual assault clinic.

"Police Scotland thoroughly investigates all reports of sexual offences and will be responsive to the needs of the victim. Given the information provided we will make efforts to speak to this woman again in the coming days."

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