The victim was unable to substantiate the allegation

“No action was taken because the victim was unable to substantiate the allegation” – those were the words today of a senior Metropolitan Police detective explaining why no action was taken against a man accused of sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl.

The man, who was arrested at the time, is now a suspect in the disappearance of another 14 year old girl. The police have revealed that he is a convicted murderer released after serving his sentence.

What did the police mean? How can any victim substantiate any allegation? Surely that is the job of the police who are tasked with investigating allegations of criminality.

Maybe it was simply a poor choice of words. Maybe it would have sounded better if the detective had said that the man had been arrested but that proceedings were not pursued because there was insufficient evidence?

I’m not sure what is meant by “the [14-year-old] victim was unable to substantiate the claim”; but I’m distinctly uneasy about what appears to be a clear case of victim blaming; a child victim at that.

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