It is vital that the criminal justice system does not create more barriers for victims, says Refuge

 

In response to victims of crime, including rape, being asked to hand their phones over to police – or risk prosecutions not going ahead – Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge said:

“It takes tremendous courage for a traumatised rape victim to go to the police after they have experienced rape or sexual assault. It is vital that the criminal justice system does not create more barriers for victims.

“Refuge works with rape victims who have had their mobile phones taken from them, sometimes for more than a year and often without any explanation of how the police will use their messages, photos and personal information not relating to the rape allegations, or even when they will get their phone back. This uncertainty can compound the victim’s trauma and isolate them at a time when they need support most.

“Rape and sexual assault are invasive and traumatising crimes. Rape convictions remain shamefully low. Whilst Refuge recognises the need for the CPS to have evidence to prosecute rapists, it is important that it does not involve trawling through the victim’s past history so the victim is effectively put on trial. We need to ensure that victims are treated with humanity while evidence is being gathered.”

For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731. Outside of working hours, please call 07970 894240.