The family of rape survivor and campaigner Jilll Saward have today (14 March) donated £10,000 to EVAW’s legal fund for their Judicial Review against the CPS. The full story, an exclusive by the Guardian is available here.
Gavin Drake, Saward’s widower, said the family were unanimous in their support of the challenge. “As soon as I read about the case, I knew that this was something that Jill would be supporting if she was still alive,” he said.
The money will contribute to the Crowd Justice appeal to help protect EVAW from incurring CPS legal costs. The CPS has stated its intention to pursue tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs if no permission for a full hearing is granted on Tuesday 17 March at the Royal Courts of Justice.
The director of public prosecutions, Max Hill, argued that Evaw’s proposed proceedings “are not public interest proceedings” – which, if accepted by the judge, could mean costs may not be capped, according to lawyers from the Centre For Women’s Justice, which is representing EVAW.
The Saward family pledge comes from donations following the campaigner’s sudden death in January 2017, aged 51. Saward was raped in her home, the Ealing Vicarage, in March 1986 by a gang of burglars when she was 21.
Outcry over her picture being published in the Sun newspaper, and the fact that the defendant who did not take part in the rape received a substantially longer jail sentence for burglary than the two convicted of rape, led to a change in the law, which gave rape victims anonymity and allowed prosecutors to appeal for longer sentences. Saward also founded the JURIES (Jurors Understanding Rape Is Essential Standard) campaign for mandatory briefings of juries in rape/sexual abuse trials with her friend Alison Boydell.
“Jill’s treatment was in no way unique,” said Drake. “But the publicity the case received shone a light on the way victims and survivors of sexual assault were treated by the criminal justice system.”
“If the funds being raised are not needed – because the case progresses and is awarded cost protection – all money will go to a rape justice legal fighting fund,” said Sarah Green, the Director of EVAW.
“We are deeply honoured to receive this money, collected in Jill’s name and connected to her life’s work of trying to make things better and more just for rape survivors,” she said. “We hope she would be proud of the way we are all continuing her work.”