Rape Crisis

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Rape Crisis welcomes Private Member's Bill on sexual offences
08/2/2017


Rape Crisis supports any proposed measures to improve the criminal justice process for victims and survivors of rape and sexual violence and, for this reason, welcomes today's (8th February 2017) Private Member's Bill from Liz Saville Roberts MP.

   

The Ministry of Justice estimates around 20% of those who are raped, sexually assaulted or sexually abused currently report, which includes a significant increase in reporting rates in recent years. Victims and survivors tell us that among the reasons for their reluctance to report is their fear of cross examination and potentially humiliating treatment in court. 

 

Ahead of today's reading, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said:

 

"It is vital that we have a justice system where victims of rape are given the right support and protection.

 

“That is why the Justice Secretary recently held a summit for victims’ groups to discuss how we can strengthen our support for rape victims and ensure they have the confidence they need to come forward.

 

"The bar for the disclosure of a complainant’s sexual history is high but we have listened to the concerns raised and are looking at how the law is working in practice.”

 

It is Rape Crisis’ experience, through the frontline specialist support and advocacy work we do, that the complainant's sexual history is routinely scrutinised in court during rape trials, greatly increasing the distress and even trauma that can be caused by having to give evidence. This situation must be addressed if more victims and survivors are to be encouraged to report to the police and to pursue criminal justice.

 

Rape Crisis looks forward to working with the Ministry of Justice and other partners to improve the experience of victims and survivors going through court; we're encouraged to hear positive words from Parliament and Government but these words must now be translated into action.