Sunday, 3 Jul 2022

Specialist units will be set up in bid to ‘lock up more rapists’

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Police, prosecutors and court staff will be given additional training in spotting and helping people suffering trauma after being attacked.

Independent advisers will aid victims at crown courts at Leeds, Newcastle and Snaresbrook in London amid fears survivors are not receiving the support they need.

Many women feel they are not believed or under­stood when going through the Criminal Justice System And officials hope fewer women will drop out of cases if supported.

Justice Minister Victoria Atkins told the Daily Express: “More than half of people who police record as having been raped will pull out of the justice process before a conviction can be secured. That’s not good enough and the system must do better.”

It comes as one leading campaigner and abuse survivor said society is failing rape victims by assum­ ing they are liars.

Emily Hunt, insists the “greatest myth” is the assumption women have fabricated ordeals.

Ms Hunt, who has helped to shape a govern­ment review, said: “We are all failing when we’re not believing victims.”

“We are failing when we’re not holding people up on bad behaviour. We’re just not doing enough.”

Attorney General Suella Braver­ man will today launch a public consultation on police requests to access victims’ mobile phones.

Comment by Victoria Atkins

Rape is a disgusting, dehumanising and devastating crime – one that overwhelmingly affects women.

Today we’re announcing this innovative approach to support victims of rape and serious sexual violence to not drop their cases.

Working closely with the police, Crown Prosecution Service and the judiciary, we’re piloting specialist sexual violence support to reduce the trauma of going to court.

These pilots will tell us whether this support can improve victims’ experiences in the courtroom and minimise delays in rape prosecutions.

This is the latest initiative in our response to the End-to-End Rape Review, which highlighted systemic failings in our approach to this vile crime.

The review was clear that victims generally don’t get enough support.

This can have a devastating impact on our ability to punish rapists.

We’ve made progress, with convictions up by two-thirds compared with 2020 – but we must carry on righting the wrongs set out in its findings.

We’re determined to transform our rape response so we can put more perpetrators behind bars.

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