(30 May 2019) An article in Vice today exposed the fact that survivors of rape who are going through the criminal justice system are being told not to access specialist counselling so as not to jeopardise the case. Discouraging survivors from accessing therapy that can help them cope with the trauma of what they have experienced is cruel and current practice needs to change.
While Shami Chakrabarti has called for a review of the guidelines today, the government has already committed to an end to end review of the criminal justice system and how it deals with rape and treats survivors. This issue must form part of it. Survivors should have a safe and confidential space which they can access specialist therapeutic support, and without worrying that what’s discussed could be shared with the defence. A petition has been started calling for an end to the use of counselling notes in court.
Victoria Derbyshire also covered the issue in today’s programme where we spoke on the need for changes. (50 mins in)