Rape Victims: Disclosure of Evidence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee 4:33 pm, 29th April 2019

Of course the police must have an effective disclosure regime. The Minister just referred to there being checks and balances in the system to prevent inquiries being inappropriate, but he will know that those checks and balances are already not working, and that they are not even embedded in this document. This document goes in the opposite direction. I urge him to read the form from the point of view of a rape victim who has just been through an awful ordeal. From their point of view, it looks as though they will have their phone taken away, potentially for several months; as though the police will be able to look into all corners of it and into every aspect of their life; as though any of that information could be given to the person who raped them; and as though there are no safeguards in place at all. It is pretty obvious that the form will deter people from coming forward and pursuing cases concerning these awful crimes with the police. Surely, in the interests of justice for women who are victims of awful crimes, the Minister should pull this document back and get the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to rewrite it.