Sex crime expert angry: "False rape statement bad news for real victims"

Federal police spokesman Peter De Waele was not amused when he learned about the invented story of the girl that was allegedly raped by two men, while her (male) friend was forced to watch. The couple made an official statement to the police, who next started an investigation, but the story turned out to be one big lie. "I am angry. Not only because a lot of police effort was wasted, but mostly because it jeopardises the credibility of real statements in the future", he told the VRT.

De Waele - who has a long record in the sex crime unit of the police - is well aware of the phenomenon of false statements. "I don't judge the people who do this personally, but they don't realise what they actually start and where this ends."

"All the efforts done by police officers and magistrates at work, CCTV footage that has to be screened, technical teams collecting evidence, the site that has to be searched for every square inch, data banks that need to be consulted... It's an immense work."

What really triggers anger with Mr De Waele are the possible consequences for future (real) victims. "What if a girl is being raped on the beach next week? Maybe people will think it's a made-up story. And for victims, recognition is of the utmost importance."

"Moreover, some victims may not even bother to report to the police and make an official statement. Then we end up in a dangerous situation, with the victims left with a trauma and the offenders unpunished."