Successful Civil Rape Case Exposes Cracks in Criminal System
The second ever Scottish successful civil damages case for rape following an unsuccessful criminal prosecution has been announced, marking a significant day for survivors and justice in Scotland.
This is the third successful civil damages case for rape in Scotland, the second following a criminal prosecution.
After 6 years and 5 months of fighting for justice Ms AB - the survivor who took the case – is relieved and describes feeling overcome with emotion after what often felt to be a never-ending ordeal.
This case is thought to be the second of its kind – following the high-profile case of Miss M – and raises serious questions about the efficacy of the criminal justice system in delivering for survivors of sexual crimes.
The judgement can be read here.
Sandy Brindley, Chief Executive of Rape Crisis Scotland said:
“This is a hugely significant judgement which exposes cracks in a criminal system that all too often is not delivering justice for survivors of sexual crimes.
We pay tribute to the courage and perseverance of Ms AB, but also know that she should not have had to fight this hard, or for this long to secure justice.
To wait for and endure a criminal trial only to receive a Not Guilty or Not Proven verdict is an incredibly difficult thing to come to terms with, and something many survivors struggle with.
Civil action is not easily accessible, and it is not the preferred option for most survivors. However, when survivors are being repeatedly and systematically let down – and in some cases retraumatised – by the very systems that are supposed to protect us all it is understandable that many more are considering this as a possible avenue.
This civil case – and the many criminal cases that have come before – highlight just how urgent action is to reform the justice system. We have to address the issues that make the process so unbearable for those who report sexual crimes and ensure that the system is robust and capable of holding guilty men to account.”
Survivor, Ms AB said:
“I am overcome with emotion today receiving the judgement.
It has been 6 years and 5 months of fighting for justice. I have had to relive the trauma repeatedly in what felt like a never-ending ordeal, and now I feel I finally have some closure.
For now, all I can say is thank you to Advocate Robert Skinner and Nick Gordon, my legal team through the Civil process. They have been the most unbelievable support in a traumatising and, frankly, mentally exhausting experience.
I can only hope this judgement sends a message to survivors of sexual assault and rape that justice is possible. It took a huge amount of perseverance – and it should not have taken so much – but with the support of family and friends you can survive.
As for those who feel they have the right to attack, assault, violate: there is no place to hide. You will be uncovered, and justice will be served.
It is time for a major overhaul to the justice system. The cases featured in the media over the last few years and months are traumatising – we need change.
Women should be able to live our lives and feel safe, and we should be able to rely on the justice system to deliver justice. Nobody through the justice process should belittle us or make us feel inferior. I went to hell and back, but now what I want is for us all to reflect and to unite to fix the justice system for survivors.”
Notes to the editors:
Read the judgement here.
Read Miss M’s story here.
Please wherever possible include links to our helpline for anyone affected by sexual violence, open 6pm – midnight every night.
📞 08088 01 03 02
📲 07537 410 027 [text]
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