The End Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition submitted evidence (on 17.06.21) to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into investigation and prosecution of rape. This follows our original submission to the Committee’s Call for Evidence into violence against women and girls.
Read our submission to the rape investigation and prosecution inquiry in full here: FINAL EVAW_HASC rape investigations and prosecutions inquiry June 2021
In our submission, we made the following recommendations:
- Wraparound survivor support and advocacy services that centre the needs of those who have experienced rape including specialist services for minoritised women and girls, not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
- Radical workforce changes throughout the police and CPS, with rape investigation and case-building made a clear and rewarded career specialism, with much stronger leadership and management, and specialist clinical supervision to try to prevent burn-out.
- An updated ban on the use of ‘sexual history evidence’ in rape trials which is fit for the digital age.
- Expansion of the testing of legal advocates for victims in rape trials, which has shown promising results so far.
- A Special Commission on Juries to examine how the use of juries does and does not service justice for trying the offence of rape.
- Examination of whether a more inquisitorial approach might be more suitable in rape trials (as has been suggested for some family court proceedings).
- Urgently needed research on (1) who does and does not report rape currently so we can understand better what the barriers to justice for different women are; (2) what rape survivors’ actually want from the justice system and for recovery more broadly; (3) what actually works as interventions to prevent rape, including public attitudes campaigns, work with perpetrators, and work on key settings where rape is common.
- New Principles and a Policy and Practice Agreement on disclosure of material to the defence in RASSO cases and changes to make therapy and counselling notes should be non-disclosable.
- Significant political leadership and accountability through a new Ministerial lead on rape holding Chief Constables and CPS leadership to account.
These recommendations follow on from detailed, radical calls made in the Decriminalisation of Rape report which EVAW, Imkaan, Rape Crisis England and Wales and Centre for Women’s Justice published last year.
The Committee’s inquiry comes at a time when the Government’s ‘end-to-end’ Rape Review has finally reported after two years. EVAW, along with Imkaan, Rape Crisis England and Wales and Centre for Women’s Justice expressed their frustration and disappointment in response to the Review’s lack of ambition, as well as a lack of the necessary resources, urgent timeframes, accountability or meaningful equalities analysis in the Review’s recommendations to deliver the justice all rape victims and survivors deserve. For more information on our response to the Rape Review’s recommendations please click here.