Finally! Jurors to hear expert evidence on rape

After going backwards and forwards on this issue, the government finally seems to have decided to use expert witnesses to dispell the rape myths that may influence jurors to let rapists go free, reports

The Solicitor General, Vera Baird, “said a panel of academics, doctors and judges will be set up to decide on what jurors should be told and how the information should be delivered.”

She also raised concerns over consent laws, particularly where a victim had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Under the plan, legislation would be introduced to allow video statements made soon after an attack to become admissible in court.

How it’s taken the government this long to act, I don’t know, but it’s good that they’re finally doing something.

Some more good news:

  • Local governments will be “named and shamed” by the new Equality and Human Rights Commission if they fail to improve services, such as rape crisis centres
  • And the law on provocation to murder is to be changed, to make it harder, for example, for men to claim that their wives/girlfriends “nagged” them into it, etc. While this is a good thing, I don’t know that the government source’s explanation that this change is meant to change the “culture of excuses” is quite right – surely that’s the “culture of sexism and men viewing women as their property” they mean?!

Thanks to Ilsa for the links!

Photo by Swiv, shared under a Creative Commons license