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 Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care), Shadow Minister (Mental Health) 4:33 pm, 29th April 2019

Many years ago, I worked for the police in a criminal justice capacity. My role included supporting the victims of sexual offences, including rape. The brave survivors are scarred, both emotionally and physically, and sometimes they develop a distrust of the justice system. That has been aggravated by a number of high-profile trials in which the victim, whether they be male or female, has been accused by the defence barrister of being promiscuous—as though they were almost asking to be attacked. In the light of that, and of the fact that we have such a low prosecution rate for rape, does the Minister think that this action will hinder or encourage victims of rape and other sexual offences to come forward?