Rape Crisis Scotland have today (3rd November) released a powerful report by survivors of rape, sexual violence, and abuse on Police Responses in Scotland. The Survivor Reference Group (SRG) report details experiences of Police responses to reports of sexual crimes and makes critical recommendations that – if implemented - could transform survivors’ experiences of reporting sexual violence.
Many survivors of sexual crimes do not report what has happened to them for a variety of reasons. For those that do, Police responses are understood as being a significant factor not just in survivors experience of the justice process – regardless of whether the case reaches court and the verdict – but in their ability to come to terms with what has happened and seek further support.
We write to express our significant concern with respect to your letter
dated 8th of March outlining the shift in approach of the Crown Office
in dealing with reluctant complainers in rape cases, effective from
today, and ask that you urgently reconsider this change to policy.
We share the knowledge that rape is an awful crime that can leave a lasting and profound impact on those who experience this violence. It is no secret that the concept of justice is one that is frequently far removed from the reality of survivors of sexual violence in Scotland today. I know you are also aware of the many barriers that stand in the way for those who pursue justice and even though considerable work has been done to address and remove these obstacles there remains a stubborn gap between those who experience sexual violence and their ability to access justice and we are clear that there is much more to do.