- New Enquiries
I have been accused of Rape. How is a Rape Investigated?
- AuthorZara Cowan
It is regularly reported in the newspapers that the number of Rape prosecutions are falling.
Early this year in order to identify areas for improvement the Crown Prosecution Service published a five-year strategy to look at all aspects of how Rape cases are prosecuted.
The new guidance represents a refresh of the guidance last issued in 2012.
Why is the new guidance needed for Rape investigations?
Since 2012 we can all agree that times have changed, digital material and technology has developed with an impact on sexual encounters and behaviours.
The Crown Prosecution Service have said that there have been significant changes in the last ten years in the way that people live their lives, which has transformed the way people communicate and date with sexual partners.
The guidance points out to prosecutors that the myths and stereotypes should play no part in their decision-making but, they do need to be identified and addressed to “ensure a proper case-strategy and effective advocacy when presenting a case at trial”.
What are the “myths and stereotypes” with Rape?
The guidance is said to address 39 common myths and stereotypes whilst adding that it does not provide an exhaustive list. They relate to rape, perpetrators of rape and victims of rape.
Some examples given are:
- Sex workers cannot be raped
- False allegations are common, and women cry rape when they regret having sex or want to seek revenge
- The victim provoked the attack by the way they dressed
- You cannot be raped by your husband or partner
- Rape is always violent
- Young men do not deserve to be convicted; they have their whole lives ahead of them
- If you are drunk or have used drugs you have made yourself vulnerable to Rape and bear some of the responsibility
The Crown Prosecution Service have worked with victim support groups to update the guidance and found there had been an emergence of new myths linked to the use of dating apps, sharing of explicit selfies and casual sex.
Are there any other major changes with how Rape is investigated?
There are key changes in updates on the impact of reasonable lines of enquiry.
The guidance on reasonable grounds of enquiry has been refreshed on striking the appropriate balance between a thorough investigation and privacy.
We will be closely monitoring the impact of these guidelines on the prosecution process in order to ensure there is no unfair impact on those accused of sexual offences.
I need a Solicitor to represent me, I have been accused of Rape
If you find yourself facing any sexual offence it is vital to contact a solicitor as soon as possible to obtain expert legal advice. Representation at the police station is free, and legal aid may be available for your case at the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. For offences which do not qualify for legal aid, we offer fixed fees for appointments and representation.