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CPS launches new draft guidance aimed at tackling rape myths & stereotypes

19 Oct 2020

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has today (Monday 19th October 2020) launched new draft guidance for its prosecutors aimed at tackling pervasive myths and stereotypes that negatively impact rape and sexual offence cases.

This represents the first full refresh of this guidance since 2012 and the draft will be open for public consultation until 18th January 2021.

Katie Russell, national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales said:

"Through our frontline work providing specialist support and advocacy to victims and survivors of rape and all forms of sexual violence and abuse, we know the significant harm ingrained, victim-blaming myths and stereotypes can cause.

Myths and stereotypes not only prevent the vast majority of people impacted by these serious crimes from pursuing criminal justice, they also contribute to unacceptably low charging, prosecution and conviction rates, as well as too often compounding survivors' trauma and impeding their healing.

This is why we were pleased to provide specialist insight and input into the development of this important new draft guidance from the CPS.

Rape Crisis has been outspoken about the failings of our criminal justice system on rape and other sexual offences for many years, and this thorough attempt to address myths and stereotypes at its heart is a positive step in the right direction.

We're particularly pleased to see inclusion of guidance around the impacts of trauma on memory, and reiteration of the legal fact that sexual consent cannot be 'implied' by sexual images, messages or dating behaviours."

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