News from the Law Society
The conclusion of the far-reaching review of the treatment of rape victims as they try to navigate the justice system was today praised by solicitors’ leaders as ministers conceded urgent steps were needed to tackle the experience of those reporting a sexual offence.
Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce particularly welcomed the clear commitment that improvements to the system for victims must not come at the expense of a fair trial for defendants.
But she also warned that without new cash, the impact of the review could be severely hampered.
The Ministry of Justice’s action plan following the two-year Rape Review led by the Sexual Offences Sub-group of the Criminal Justice Board.*
“This important and timely review focuses on dealing with the problems in the criminal justice process that add to the trauma of complainants in rape and sexual offences,” said I. Stephanie Boyce.
“Given the backlogs in the criminal courts and the attrition rates in rape and sexual offence cases, resources must be provided throughout our criminal justice system to ensure these proposals result in the desired improvements.
“The Law Society and its members will be keen to see the detail of proposals to provide legal advice to complainants. It is of course important to note that the current inadequate funding of legal advice to defendants and suspects acts as a barrier to swift justice for all parties.
“We particularly welcome the proposed Law Commission review of the way in which rape myths are dealt with, bringing evidence to bear on a highly contentious issue,” added I. Stephanie Boyce.
“We look forward to continuing to feed in the insights of our members as plans are taken forward.”