MP Harry Cohen has introduced an Early Day Motion (1082) pressing the government to protect anonymity in rape cases. So far there are only 16 signatures from other MPs (see list below). You can use this site to lobby your MP to sign up to it.
EDM Signed by:
Labour – Diane Abbot, Harry Cohen, Bill Etherington, Patrick Hall, Glenda Jackson, Lynne Jones, John McDonnell, Alan Simpson and Rudi Vis
Lib Dem – Lorely Burt, Lynne Featherstone, Andrew George, Greg Mulholland, Sarah Teather, Roger Williams
SDLP – Alasdair McDonnell
The EDM text
- That this House notes the extremely low rate of convictions for rape of 5.3 per cent. of prosecutions brought;
- It further notes, while recognising that in a few recent cases women who have reported rape have been convicted of perverting the course of justice, that at present victims of rape face the unwarranted ordeal of exposure and trial by public opinion in the media;
- It believes that the hard-won anonymity for victims of sexual offences is all to fragile in the face of media reporting of facts revealed, for example, under the protection of parliamentary privilege or the impunity of the internet;
- It further notes the Attorney General’s view that the media share parliamentary privilege to report details otherwise restricted in law if done `in good faith and without malice’;
- It considers the Daily Mail to have acted with extreme malice in recent cases and to be conducting a campaign to force a change in the law on anonymity by continually flouting it;
- And calls for the Attorney General to restate the gravity of committing contempts of court to the media, directly and via the various media regulators including the Press Complaints Commission, and to take action to back up his words;
- And further believes that the public interest in an effective criminal justice system is best served by the preservation of anonymity for the victims of sexual offences, most particularly rape, and thereby the removal of a significant disincentive for such victims to report the crime.