Rape victims could be forced to testify in court

Rape web

Rape Crisis Scotland has said plans to issue arrest warrants to compel victims to testify are a backwards step

13th March 2018 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Plans to compel rape victims to give evidence have been criticised.

Rape Crisis Scotland has said that issuing arrest warrants for victims who are reluctant to testify means more people will retract their statements.

The Crown Office has produced new guidance on getting victims to testify in court, which could see victims being arrested in order to ensure cases proceed.

In an open letter, the charity’s chief executive Sandy Brindley has called on prosecutors to reverse their plans.

“This policy will mean that more rape complainers will falsely retract their statements,” she said. “We are seriously concerned that this change to policy will lead more people to say that they made up their report.”

Brindley added that the charity sees the move as a step backwards, and would create further hostility within the system towards victims of sexual assault.

“This will not gain best evidence from rape complainers and risks re-traumatising victims,” she said.

“There are multiple difficulties in obtaining best evidence from rape complainers in a justice system that can often be hostile to victim-survivors of violence, compelling them to give evidence will only make this worse. The threat of a warrant being out for her arrest will only cause significantly more anxiety and distress.”

The Crown Office said the plans will be subject to further consultation before being finalised.

A spokesperson said: "In sexual offence cases, the attitude of the complainer will always be a very significant factor in making decisions on prosecution and may often justify not proceeding further with the case.

"However, circumstances vary greatly and it would not be appropriate to lay down a rule that proceedings can never be taken if the complainer is reluctant.”

14th March 2018 by Bea

Believe me when I say ALL rape victims are reluctant!Remember this is a TFN bulletin and not the gutter press.You really do need to give greater consideration when writing such sensitive articles. Please make this a one off and give a lot more thought to the organisations and people you are sending these bulletins out to.I dread to think what the great folks at Rape Crisis Scotland will make of your headline.This charity will NOT be sharing this issue with our colleagues at other offices/projects.