Berwick MP speaks about attempted rape horror

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick Upon Tweed
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick Upon Tweed

Berwick’s MP has spoken of the trauma she felt after police said they would not follow up her allegation of attempted rape.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan revealed she was the victim of an attempted rape in 1987 when she was a first year maths student in her 20s at Oxford Polytechnic University.

She reported the attack to Thames Valley Police but claims officers told her it was ‘better she did not pursue the case’ as prospects of a conviction were remote.

Mrs Trevelyan said regaining her confidence was a long process.

“To be honest, once they told me it wasn’t worth following through on I just assumed they had written me off and that finding the aggressor was too much like hard work,” she said.

“I had to rely on the kindness of friends over many years to help rebuild my self-belief and to accept that it was not my fault that I was attacked.”

The MP has welcomed a rise in recorded sexual assaults - 44% this year - as she says it shows that allegations are today taken more seriously.

But she admits she has concerns about police workload in relation to vulnerable people.

She said: “As someone who never became an attempted rape statistic because the police told me it was better I did not pursue my case, I have worked over two decades to help empower women who are victims of rape – by strangers and people they know – to report crimes.

“I have worked with several police forces over the years, and the Samaritans, to change the culture and understanding of the nature of rape and the damage it can cause to victims.

“It is my view that increasing rape reports are thanks to a significant improvement in the police’s understanding and ability to support those who have been attacked and this is something we should be encouraged by.

“Only by understanding the extent of the problem can society and Government tackle it and change behaviour.”

She added: “Reported crime means people have more confidence in their police. In our towns, crime continues to be low but weekend anti-social behaviour is a national problem, which is managed through excellent partnerships.

“I have concerns about the workload put on our policemen and women in regard to vulnerable people, for whom the police is often the front line and I am working closely with colleagues on practical ways to improve support for those in crisis for whom the police should not be a safety net.”