A judge was at the wheel.
The document is particularly designed for those who support victims of rape, whether professionally or personally, although it may be of interest to victims, witnesses and the general public.
This is the second edition of the policy statement and reflects the changes in the law and CPS procedures that have taken place since the publication of the first edition in Rape is one of the most serious of all criminal offences.
It can inflict lasting trauma on victims and their families. We want people to know that our aim is to prosecute rape cases effectively, and we want people to know what they can expect from us. We are aware that there is a general perception that most rapes are committed by a single man against a woman unknown to him.
In fact, the majority of rape victims are women and most know their rapist. However, rape can involve male and female victims of all ages.
This policy statement covers the handling of all types of rape case, including marital and relationship rape, acquaintance and stranger rape, against male and female victims. All are equally serious and traumatic for the victim.
Rape also has a devastating effect on families of victims. Cases of rape where the victim is a child present additional challenges. We will take account of the needs of abused children, the effects of the crime, and the effects of the court appearance on the child witness.
We realise that victims of rape have difficult decisions to make that will affect their lives and the lives of those close to them.
We acknowledge that barriers exist, which mean that some people are less likely to report offences. Victims who are or have been in a relationship with their attacker may blame themselves or feel that agencies will blame them, and may well face wider difficulties such as disruption to the lives of their children and extended families.
People from Black and minority ethnic communities may have experienced racism. They may fear that they will not be believed, or that they will not be treated properly.
As a result they may be reluctant to report offences or support a prosecution. Cultural and religious beliefs may also prevent people from reporting offences or supporting a prosecution.
In cases involving rape within same sex relationships, victims may fear a homophobic reaction from the criminal justice system.
They may also fear being "outed" by the process.
People with physical disabilities may fear reporting rape if the offender is a carer, or fear the loss of residential care.
Elderly people, in particular, may be deterred from reporting rape by feelings of shame or embarrassment. People with learning difficulties or mental health problems may feel that they will not be believed if they report being raped.
We currently work with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and a number of national and local organisations for example the Witness Service provided by Victim Supportwhich offer support to victims throughout the proceedings.
Special measures can be used to help a victim or witness to give evidence. Although this policy statement applies specifically to rape, we will strive to apply best practices and procedures to all other types of sexual offence prosecuted, and ensure that these cases are treated seriously and sensitively.
Some words and phrases used in this document may not be familiar to everybody.For example, in the federal appeals courts, one level below the Supreme Court, Obama named about one-third of all judges presently sitting.
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