Rape anonymity

The accused in rape cases is going to be given anonymity. We have anonymity for the victim – but until now – the accused has been named. Now – it will only be following conviction that the perpetrator will be named.

It is clearly appalling for someone who is innocent to find their life and reputation ruined by false accusation and trial – but the issue is much wider than that.

Yes – 60% of  rape cases that come to court lead to conviction. But the cases that end up in court are the tip of the rape iceberg. Only 6% of reported rapes lead to conviction. So there’s one hell of a gap between what is happening out there – compared with the ability to bring these cases to justice.

The British Crime survey says that one in every twenty-four women will suffer rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. Their figures show that only 11 per cent of rapes or attempted rapes are even reported to the police.

0 thoughts on “Rape anonymity

  1. I completely agree with this step, and would ideally want it to go further and extend to other charges as well. Innocent until proven guilty, indeed!

  2. Surely the argument that it is “appalling for someone who is innocent to find their life and reputation ruined by false accusation and trial” applies to every crime. Are we going to give anonymity to all defendants to all charges?

    The reason rape victims are given anonymity is because a householder who has been burgled is not accused of making it up if the accused is acquitted; unlike rape victims who are accused of making false allegations if there is no conviction.

    There are many cases where the publicity – and naming – of a defendant have led to other women coming forward who were previously too frightened to do so for fear of being believed.

    Giving anonymity to those accused of rape; like attacks on CCTV and the DNA database; will make women less safe.

  3. I hear the low conviction rate often cited as a problem.

    However, is the low conviction rate a reflection of an over-eager CPS sending dubious reports of crimes to a criminal court, or a failure of the criminal court to successfully find an obvious criminal to be guilty?

    How many of those “failed prosecutions” are due to a failure of the criminal system, and how many were the correct outcome of a criminal trial – namely the acquittal of an innocent person?

    To listen to some people talking about this issue would almost to conclude that simply to be accused of rape automatically means you must be guilty of it, regardless of the facts.

    Yes, more needs to be done to encourage rapes to be reported to the police – but there does seem to be a slightly alarming desire on some activists part to lower the level of proof if a prosecution is later carried out.

    Rape is a serious a crime, and rightly carries serious penalties for the guilty, and for that reason, the level of proof needs to remain high to prevent the horror of a swathe of innocent people being sent to jail on quite flimsy evidence.

  4. Why are you ignoring the Stern Review’s call for proper research into the level of false allegations before taking this step? What happened to evidence-based policy making?

    And if the coalition is so hot on “innocent until proven guilty”, why are we still treating Abid Nasser and Ahmad Faraz Khan like guilty men even though they’ve never faced a jury?

  5. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this its priority is so as to placate those extreme right wing bloggers and posters whose often obscene ballyhoo helps keep right wing opinion buoyant – esprit de corps while Cameron debauches our democracy – from the ’22 to General Elections.

  6. All interesting but I haven’t seen any decent explanation of the arguments behind this move – any chance of this on your blog?

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  7. Dear Lynne. The unpunished rape statistics are truly appalling, and a measure of just how uncivilised the Country has become. One of the problems is the way rape is viewed in all parts of the multicultural society. There is far too much of “she asked for it”,after the assault and not enough public disapproval when women go to public places dressed in a manner that to the man on the Clapham omnibus clearly signals sexual availability. Your own campaign to remove nudity as entertainment from the MSM is surely an attempt to heighten public disapproval of indiscriminate eroticism. There are now elements in our society that come from societies that consider rape a perfectly acceptable social act. In legal proceedings, how do you discriminate between the office bicycle swapping sex for promotion which doesn’t materialise and a thoroughly professional woman (or man) being brought under overwhelming pressure by a senior colleague? Rape, female or male, seriously injures the victims sense of self-worth, amongst other things. Should we not be considering the possibility of employing medical and psychological professionals to stop victims blaming themselves and preparing them for what has to be an impartial, hence stressful investigation?

    In an imperfect world, anonymity of the alleged rapist until conviction is the fairest way of ensuring justice is seen to be done.

  8. What a joke this policy is. A tiny number of reported rapes result in convictions, and this is your policy? “What about the men?” That’s the best you can do? I wouldn’t mind if this policy was included as part of a comprehensive reform in raising awareness of the multitude of ways in which victims can react to the crime (see the Jack Tweed case for examples of ignorance here) so that juries have a more realistic idea of what rape is, and to bridge the gap between cases being reported to the police and taken to trial, but on it’s own this is an insult. The fact is that we already know that all these men being acquitted are not necessarily innocent- studies of men’s own reported sexual experiences show that levels of sexual assault are much higher than the number of convictions.

    I’d expect this kind of policy, with its implication that there’s not really a rape problem, it’s just women making it up and men are in desperate need of protecting, to come from a Tory government, but not a Liberal Democrat coalition.

  9. The problem lies not in the act of naming but in the prejudice out there against the accused prior to conviction. Is not naming accused going to change that? It will protect the accused from prejudice. Sometimes I imagine that when a person is charged with rape and is identified after the initial court appearance other women previously fearful might come forward with further evidence. But it hardly amounts to a persuasive case for denying anonymity to accused people. Perhaps the accused can have the right to waive anonymity.

  10. Fantastic Lynne. The first and most important thing the coalition needed to do with the justice system is to protect the anonymity of accused rapists. Do you not understand that there are right wing Tories sitting in dining clubs right now laughing away at you doing their work for them eh what. Do you think they give a monkey’s about the second half of your post?

    Next must surely be preserving anonymity for beleaguered chief executives who lose half a billion pounds in a single year, blame the loss on trade unions and hang onto their own job.

  11. A group of white middle class men go into a room and negotiate on policy to form a coalition government. Both political parties have a token number of female MPs. One of the few criminal justice policies they put forward is granting anonymity to male defendants in rape trials!!!! Not in either party’s manifesto. Hmmmm. Lynn you are Minister for Equalities. Say something about this!!!!!!!!!It’s dangerous.

  12. A welcome step and necessary in the days of trial by media. False accusations have wrecked many careers and lives.

    Similar protection should be given to teachers accused by pupils in schools, another area where false accusations wreck lives and where it is very hard to rebuild life even if acquitted.

  13. They are not accused rapists but people accused of rape who should be presumed innocent until proved guilty. Accused rapists seems to put it the other way round

  14. @ AM

    Fine let’s call them men accused of being rapists. Or alleged rapists.

    Do you mind if we assume they are men?

    Lynne has absolutely nothing to say on what she wants to do about the issues she raises in the second part of her blog.

    I despair really.

    PS I see the boss said she has had a conversion on the road to Damascus about gay issues last night and that she now accepts they are proper people. I expect she also believes it’s ok for such people to stay in B&B’s now as long as there is only hand holding and both parties have one foot on the floor at all times just like her mum always told her.

  15. Anonymity can protect the guilty. It is when the accused is named that other women are likely to come forward and state that this person also did this to me. Women are often not believed when they claim they have been raped. Consider the way the women who were raped by John Worboys were treated by the police.
    This is the real problem. The policy to give anonymity to individuals accused of rape perpetuates the idea that women tend to make false allegations against men. We would need to investigate this far more thoroughly before legislating. This is what was recommended by the Stern Review. Please don’t intervene in a complicated area of law on the back of an agreement cooked up in secret when no women were present.

  16. Dear Lynne, was about to write to you on this but read your excellent post – right on as usual. Please do all you can to oppose this appalling legislation in Parliament.

  17. Please explain Lynne – and I really do want your feedback on this – why you would support the idea of the State offering protection to people accused of rape; support which will not be offered to people accused of any other crime – murder, terrorism etc?

    How do you feel about this proposal which was not in your manifesto?

    How do you feel about the fact it came out of negotiations with no female representation?

    And what are you going to do about it?

  18. Lynne, I’m really disappointed with this blog post. In opposition I think it was OK for you to just post your thoughts on issues. But you are in Government now and I think you owe us a bit more of an explanation about the actions you are taking.

    I’d like to know how this came about, why it’s a priority, how it fits with your equalities vision, how it fits with your plans to address conviction rates, what’s the evidence for this making a difference etc etc.

    I’m not an expert on any of this but I am really none the wiser after reading your blog.

    Thanks to those who have commented, particularly @Beconcernedveryconcerned – who have at least sought to explain this tricky issue.

  19. This is a quite brilliant policy and long overdue.

    Victims of malicious false allegations generally suffer just as much as those suffering the horrific crime of rape at present. They end up losing their careers and their marriages. Some even lose their homes, are forced to the country or commit suicide and others end up being attacked by vigilantes or the accuser’s relatives and even end up dead as a result.

  20. How anyone can suggest such a policy isn’t needed is unbelievable. I think a false rape is actually inappropriate terminology to use for the crime, a better term is “reverse rape”, with the accuser using the police, the state and the media to aid and abet the offence.

    We should also bear in mind that the policy should result in a small decrease in the number of false rape cases as well as protecting the many people subjected to reverse rapes. This is because it takes away some of the incredible power false accusers have. Yes they can still get men falsely imprisoned for a while and subject to intimate medical examinations, but the wider power of completely ruing their reputation and trial by media is at least removed (though of course they can still broadcast their lies to their friends, family and members of the community or even do so online).

  21. People need to remember that if you take away some of the incentives for making false allegations then it significantly strengthens the case of genuine victims. Suggesting that rapists are being protected is nonsense too. If they’re found guilty their names will be plastered all over the papers and further victims can come forward at that stage instead.

    Lynne is correct that this is only part of the problem. Really we need a more fundamental overhaul of rape laws. For example most sensible countries long ago did away with the notion that a rape can only take place is a penis is used. Charities such as the NSPCC don’t’ define rape as something that can only be committed by a man an it’s about time we used a gender neutral definition.

    It’s also important we review sentencing in this area. Most false accusers get rather lenient sentences at present (which are then halved for good behaviour making them meaningless). Their actions waste so much police time that they put genuine victims of crime at risk. Reverse rapists need to receive exactly the same sentences as they attempt to inflict on their the innocent people who’s lives they tried to ruin and they should also be placed on the sex offenders register as that’s exactly what they are. As with actual rapists the reverse rapists are often serial offenders too – judges have noted this in the past and called for a false accusers register, though this fell on deaf ears whilst Labour were in power.

    Anyway, it’s a fantastic policy, just a bit worried that Lynne isn’t very enthusiastic about it. She should be just as proud of this policy as any other, especially as she’s supposed to be responsible for equalities. Oh, and for those moaning about the Lib dems supposedly doing the Conservatives dirty work – THIS IS A LIB DEM POLICY NOT A CONSERVATIVE ONE! – it was agreed at their conference! That’s exactly what I’d expect form a party genuinely committed to civil liberties, though the fact the Conservatives have given their support to the proposal means they should be commended too.

  22. Anyone who believes that women (and men) don’t make false rape allegations should visit the site “False Rape Society”. It’s an excellent resource offering an intelligent insight into the issue of false rape allegations. Also it manages to avoid the nastiness and sexism you see from the extreme groups on both sides of the issue:


    (btw sorry for all the posts – I had to separate them out as it wouldn’t allow one long one)

  23. Pingback: United Kingdom Coming soon: Anonymity for rape defendants in the UK

  24. Truly amazing that it is all going down the drain quite so quickly.

    Almost all of it is oriented towards usually vain attempts at maintaining power and bidding for the votes of minor interest groups.

  25. Well there you go Lynne all the apologists are coming forward with their myriad stories and views on “false” rape.

    Presumably tomorrow morning you will be sitting in your bath like the other day reflecting on how marvellous the “doing” not just the “saying” is.

    By the way, those of us with any sense of responsibility towards the environment moved to showers some years ago. Still I guess it’s easier to drink the champers and smoke the celebratory cigar in the bath.

  26. Just recently in my area a young woman accused a taxi driver of rape just to avoid a £5 cab fare, luckily one of the young woman’s friends came forward and told of how her friend had previously planned to avoid paying the fare, unfortunately this did not prevent the taxi driver from being beaten up and having his life practically ruined, yes this is anecdotal evidence but there are countless more anecdotes such as this if you care to look. People have to realise there are two types of victims in rape, there are rape victims and there are the falsely accused, both deserve justice. Looking at it from only one angle helps no one.

  27. As others have pointed out, if anonymity is given to r*pe defendants then by the same logic anonymity should be given to all defendants for serious crimes. Goodbye open and transparent justice.

    How will the police put out appeals for other victims to come forward if they can’t name a suspect? Will it apply just to r*pe, or to other forms of s*xual assault? What if a man is accused of r*pe and attempted murder, say – will he retain anonymity? Will those accused of r*ping or s*xually assaulting children retain anonymity?

    Above all, won’t this just communicate that accusations of r*pe are uniquely untrustworthy – that if a woman accuses a man of r*pe then, uniquely among crimes, the defendant must be protected from the possibility that the accusation is false? How will that encourage women to come forward to report r*pes?

    Finally, the most recent inquiry into this issue recommended against this step – so why is the Conservative/Liberal government proceeding with it, without mentioning it in either manifesto and without any public consultation or debate?

  28. Lynne says there’s a gap between what’s happening and the ability to bring cases to justice.

    Not quite. There is a huge gap between the number of reported incidents and the number of convictions and I’m sorry if Lynne thinks that to have justice, the process requires a conviction.

    Prosecutors have to look at the evidence and see if there is a realistic prospect of obtaining a conviction. If 60% percent of cases coming to trial do result in a conviction, it’s actually a fairly high rate, as criminal trials go, so in the cases that get that far, the trial process does seem to be delivering justice.

    The question is why cases don’ t get to trial. The obvious place to look is the 89% of incidents which are never reported.

    On the proposed change to give anonymity to defendants in rape cases, the first thing to say is that an acquittal shouldn’t ruin a person’s reputation. In our tradition, a finding of not guilty should mean that the defendant leaves court without a stain on his character. So if we have to give anonymity to defendants in rape cases – and I think we do – it’s actually a signal that for innocent people who are acquitted, our justice system isn’t working.

  29. @JohnH : who said there wouldn’t be any debate ? Legislation is rarely passed in the Commons before a debate is had about the issue.

  30. I suspect that in almost any other field where gossip proliferates the Nat Liberals – Tories would have told us that it was impossible to suppress information. Or prejudice as like as not.

    So the person who accuses another of rape is not to be permitted to discuss her/his allegation with others to the extent that the accusers mention presumed rapist’s name?

    And keep schtum after the court case, if any?

    It doesn’t sound very likely, does it?

    I gather rape is legally possible in marriage. How will a failed accusation be related in a divorce case?

    It’s just as I said above, a sop to Cameron’s nastier friends.

  31. John says “How will the police put out appeals for other victims to come forward if they can’t name a suspect?”

    Well the police will be allowed to announce the arrest and charge, the allegations, dates and places and the nature of the incidents. The accused would be described as “a 38yr old man, who cannot be named” in the same way that accused people who are under 18 are described, currently.

    So if they believe there are other victims, the police will be able to put out appeals. Surely it’s the facts of the case, rather than the name of the accused, which will prompt any other victims to come forward.

    It’s also worth remembering that the naming of an accused can often indirectly identify the victim, so anonymity for defendants actually protects them.

  32. But why treat rape differently to other crimes? Being accused falsely of any crime can potentially ruin someone’s reputation and life. By this logic all defendants should be entitled to anonymity. An acquittal may be hugely controversial. Surely the public have the right to make up their own minds about what happens in court? Even if the person is acquitted they may not have been falsely accused. It means there was not enough evidence to convict them. The defendant’s conduct may have led quite legitimately to the charges being brought. Singling rape out in this way means that you are perpetuating the myth that women lie about rape. We need more research before acting on purely anecdotal evidence.

  33. “But why treat r@pe differently to other crimes?”

    Because it’s almost always one person’s word against an other. Other crimes tend to have far more evidence/witnesses and are therefore much more difficult to fake. Also we ALREADY treat r@pe differently by allowing the defendant to be anonymous. This proposal merely introduces some equality into the situation.

    “Singling r@pe out in this way means that you are perpetuating the myth that women lie about rape”

    What myth?

    Women do lie about rape. I’m sure most are telling the truth, but even if only 10% are lying than that’s an awful lot of victims of false allegations.

    Further still, such a percentage would only include women intentionality lying and where is can be proven. We all know that many rapists can get aquitted in court due to a lack of proof so it’s equally true that countless cases of false accusations cannot be proven either.

    Further still, when did you last see someone actually acquitted of making false allegations? I’ve read extensively on the subject and I can’t remember ever seeing such a case. This would suggest that the police only ever investigate the most blatant false r@pe case when a conviction can be absolutely guaranteed. On the other hand, the fact that 40% of r@pe cases result in no conviction means a more determined approach is being taken there and some cases are going to court that have no chance of success.

    Once again can I please emphasise this is a LIB DEM POLICY. It was agreed in 2006 at their annual conference and has been party policy ever since. If you voted Lib Dem you voted for this policy. Here is the link for those who obviously don’t believe me:


  34. Adam, I usuallly assume they are men myself but we are aware of cases where men allege they are the victims. The sex of the perpetrator in the current context is less the issue than the anonymity question. There is the view expressed above that rape should be like all other charges – either name all the accused or none. Whatever the merit in that argument the fact is that sex crimes are categorised differently. That is why there is a sex offenders register.

  35. Yes but you can only justify treating rape differently if it is distinct from other crimes. We know complainants in r-pe cases won’t come forward unless they are given anonymity. This is partly because the complainant’s s-x life is often scrutinised during a trial. So this justifies anonymity.
    But there is no evidence that women are more likely to bring false allegations in r-pe cases any more than other case. There are many crimes where the conviction is not based on physical evidence but on who the jury believe. There is therefore no justification for treating r-pe cases differently in this regard. Without solid evidence you are simply perpetuating a damaging myth that women lie about r-pe and are not to be believed.

  36. “But there is no evidence that women are more likely to bring false allegations in r-pe cases any more than other case”

    Well it’s true that such a topic has been a no-go area under the previous government, but there still is research on the issue. For example a home office study states that 12% of cases dealt with by the police were false allegations. There’s certainly no chance that the usual one or two percent figures the extremist feminists seek to promote bear any resemble to reality.

    Click to access hors293.pdf

    If my calculations are correct, a 12% figure on a national scale would translate to around 2000 cases

    And lets get way form this sexist angle of saying “women” lie about rape. Dishonesty isn’t something gender specific and you get men making false rape allegations too (thus there are even more vicitms of such a crime than one might imagine).

    “you are simply perpetuating a damaging myth that women lie about r-pe and are not to be believed.”

    Well no one should automatically be believed when alleging that someone else has committed an offence. If the justice system becomes based around a presumption of all rape victims telling the truth then that completely does away with the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

  37. But you haven’t answered my question? Why are you singling our defendants in rape cases? Presumably there will always be defendants in all types of cases who are wrongly accused? We simply don’t know the percentage? According to your reasoning all defendants should receive anonymity?

  38. I did answer the question.

    Rape cases ALREADY give anonymity to the alleged victims. They are currently singled out, but in an incredibly one sided manner. All this proposal does is restore equality and fairness. Either both parties need to be anonymous or neither.

    In addition, few other crimes have such a lack of evidence and are not so much of a case of one person’s word against another therefore making false allegations harder.

    I do agree with your last point to some extent – allegations where it is just one person’s word against another should not have the supposed perpetrator named until a verdict is reached. For example, false domestic violence allegations are perhaps an even more widespread problem than false rape allegations, particularly in child custody battles and divorce cases. However, the priority is to deal with false rape accusations first due to the severe consequences for victims and due to the fact the accuser already has the benefit of anonymity.

    Also, the problem of false domestic violence allegations has alternative solutions which should be tried first, such as introducing shared parenting, rather than the current winner takes all scenario which encourages such allegations. This is current Lib Dem policy also.

  39. This is a very emotive subject and one which I think must be fair for everyone involved. I think it is very important that any allegations must be proved before a persons identity is given out. It must be awful to be accused of something when you are innocent, in this country we are innocent until proved guilty and therefore it is important to have the same rights as the victim. It is also important for the victim to receive support after an experience like rape so therefore we need to ensure a fair systems is in place and ensure our police have the skills and experience to deal with these matters.

  40. With respect, Christina, is seems to me your approach the the presumption of innocence is 180 degrees wrong.

    You suggest “innocent until proved guilty” argues for anonymity, which would only really hang together as an argument if you wanted it in relation to all offences, since all defendants are equally entitled to be presumed innocent.

    Yet at the same time as wanting to stretch the presumption of innocence to apply in that extended way, you also speak about defendants having “the same rights as the victim” – assuming, contrary to the presumption of innocence, that a rape has occurred because it’s been alleged.

    I realise that was almost certainly a slip of the keyboard, but I think it’s significant. Being serious about the presumption of innocence means precisely not automatically equating an allegation with guilt. Perhaps if people were more rigorous about that, there’d be fewer misguided calls for special exemptions from public justice.

  41. The correct way would be to refer to the victim as the complainant. This is a suitably neutral term.

  42. Very disappointing. More research was needed on which to base policy decisions, not some rushed and ill-thought out legislation.
    It certainly is a very sensitive area of law which needs to be dealt with purely on the basis of empirical evidence to ensure that fairness prevails from the initial reporting right through to trial. Knee jerk responses which pander to right-wing male prejudices are not the way forward.

    As a side note: “tip of the r@pe iceberg”. Er, nice use of language Lynne.

  43. ((Posting in two chunks as Lynne’s spam filter feels I am ‘spammy’))

    “The fact is that we already know that all these men being acquitted are not necessarily innocent- studies of men’s own reported sexual experiences show that levels of sexual assault are much higher than the number of convictions.

    I’d expect this kind of policy, with its implication that there’s not really a rape problem, it’s just women making it up and men are in desperate need of protecting, to come from a Tory government, but not a Liberal Democrat coalition.”

    I take exception to this. Obviously it isn’t a LibDem priority but if it is something we can agree is a positive step and makes the system more rather than less fair then why should we oppose it? Your first paragraph quoted above suggests you believe that (a) there is a stigma attached to being accused of rape and (b) that it is entirely reasonable for someone to have to bear this stigma even if the evidence is insufficient to secure a conviction. What abhorrent rubbish. What we should be doing is devoting energy to discovering how to make it easier to safely convict and prove rape cases and how to make it easier for victims to come forward; we shouldn’t be going out of our way to protect an oversight in due process which allows men who are acquitted of rape – some who may be guilty, but some of whom are innocent – to be ostracized because of a ‘no smoke without fire’ mentality.

  44. To reply to someone above who asked why we don’t do it for all crimes – it is probably costly to ensure anonymity and obviously any guarantee of anonymity carries with it punishments if anonymity is broken which must then be exacted; for these reasons it is sensible only to restrict it to crimes for which there is good reason to think the acquitted would be stigmatised. Rape is the paradigm case. I suppose other violent, serious or emotive crimes might be similar. Child abuse comes to mind.

    Those interested in the legal dimension of stigma should look out some of the research done on the ‘Scottish verdict’. Because of a conventional (though false) misconception that a verdict of ‘not proven’ means the jury suspect the accused to have committed the crime but feel the evidence is insufficient those who receive this verdict offer suffer stigmatisation as a result. A leading counter argument is that the ‘not proven’ verdict allows an expressive function for the jury to, for example, indicate to a woman accusing a man of rape that by returning a verdict other than guilty they do not doubt her testimony (thus removing the stigma from the accuser).

  45. I suppose the question is this: With so many issues to be tackled on criminal justice why chose this one at this time? For example, why not work on raising the age of criminal responsibility for children, sentencing policy or protecting jury trial etc. This is clearly a policy designed to help a particular group of individuals in a controversial area where much more research and analysis is needed. There is a balance between different objectives here and we need to be careful. For this policy to come out of a closed meeting with no female representation demands analysis. It does appear to be a knee jerk response.

  46. Duncan – why single out rape when there is no logical reason to do so? Cost doesn’t cut it, even in current circumstances.

    If rape, then all serious crimes too. This proposal should NOT go through if it is to be applied only to rape.

  47. @Beconcernedveryconcerned Nope, it is calculated by Tory strategists who are paid by top PR man David Cameron and serve also PR man Nick Clegg.

    These people are not off the wall, just guys, y’know . . ?

    They look to keep their nastier followers onside. When there are yet more assaults on out=r liberties and democracy these people will say: “Oh well, at least they gave us the chance of a bit more justice, we Men, y’know?”

  48. Comment 1/1 (due to spam protection)
    Rape is a henous crime ! Any woman who has been raped should report it to the police immediately. She should not wait for someone else to report a rape and then decide to come forward once she has seen the publicity, should it happen to be the same person. As someone falsely accused of rape in 1998 that allegedly had taken place 17 years before, I had my good name and reputation damaged by glaring publicity. I was exposed, my accuser was not.
    It took the court just over an hour after an eight day trial to find me not guilty on all counts.