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Rape Crisis Scotland calls for radical changes to sexual offence trials

In an extraordinary judgment today, Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice General, Scotland’s most senior judge has vehemently condemned the manner in which all of the lawyers, prosecution, defence and presiding Judge, treated a victim of serious sexual crime during the trial of her assailant, Gavin MacDonald, who was thirty years her senior. The judge explained that if the circumstances of this case were to be repeated the, “situation in sexual offences trials would be unsustainable”.

On Covid 19 and Courts - A Statement From Sandy Brindley

Rape Crisis Scotland welcomes the advances that are now being made to try and resume the business of the Scottish Courts, and in particular the steps now being taken to try to resume jury trials in Scotland. In this connection Rape Crisis welcomes the fact that the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament is to begin to hear evidence on this matter on 19 May 2020, and that Lord Justice Clerk’s Jury Trial Working Group had its first meeting on 14 May 2020.

RCS urges MSPs to support Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill provisions

Briefing Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill | Rape Crisis Scotland

Guide to the criminal justice system for survivors of sexual violence: updated

Rape Crisis Scotland have today (Wednesday 10th July 2019) launched an updated video guide to the criminal Survivor facing oncoming wave justice system for survivors of sexual violence, featuring key people that survivors will come into contact with during the justice process.

This includes a specially trained police officer, a rape crisis advocacy worker, a Procurator Fiscal, a defence lawyer, an advocate for the prosecution and a judge.

Fairness, dignity and justice - changing Scotland's response to sexual crimes

A judicially led review, chaired by the Lord Justice Clerk Lady Dorrian, will develop new proposals for how sexual offences are dealt with within the Scottish Criminal Justice System.

Tackling barriers to strategic court cases in Scotland

Today sees the publication of a new report, Overcoming Barriers to Public PILInterest Litigation in Scotland, which explores why there is a lack of strategic court action in Scotland and suggests recommendations to address this.

It suggests key barriers are:

A letter to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

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.

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