By Ronaldccwong via Wikimedia Commons
The Metropolitan Police has received a backlash from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London after it arrested an alleged rape victim over the status of her immigration.
The woman, which was unnamed and was in her 20s, went to a police station in London in order to report being kidnapped and abused during the time she spent in Germany, before coming to the United Kingdom.
While delivering a victim statement, she informed officers that she had illegally entered Britain before being brought to a centre for rape survivors.
The woman was then arrested on speculation of illegal entry into the United Kingdom and was since taken into custody.
The London Mayor said that it was “a completely unacceptable way to treat victims.”
The woman was given a notice offering her temporary leave to remain in the United Kingdom on the condition that she informs officials regarding her whereabouts. However, in the absence of a legal permission to live in Britain, she could be detained and deported anytime.
Sophie Linden, the deputy mayor for policing and crime, stated that the arrest could prevent further operations if victims feel that they cannot come forward.
Linden stated: “This is an extremely troubling case, which risks discouraging other individuals from coming forward and reporting very serious crimes. We have raised the issue with the Met, and continue to work closely with the police and the Havens to ensure victims have the confidence to come forward and report.
“Victims of sexual abuse or exploitation have already suffered unimaginable distress at the hands of their perpetrators, and the Havens are an invaluable asset as we strive to improve the support available to all victims to help them cope, recover and find justice.
“If victims – whatever their circumstances – don’t have the confidence to come forward and report crimes, we cannot catch the perpetrators who can continue to offend, and justice is not done.”
On Tuesday, the force stated that its specialist sexual offences unit had transferred the allegations of kidnap and rape to German authorities following the complaint in March.