Rape victims to be asked to hand phones to police

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Rape victims to be asked to hand phones to police

A growing number of senior politicians have raised concerns over a new system which will see the phones of rape victims analysed by police.


The idea was drawn up by the Crown Prosecution Service and the National Police Chiefs Council, following the collapse of trials after evidence emerged, including online messages.


Several MPs have suggested it will make victims feel like they are on trial while Charities say it could stop rape victims from coming forward.


We spoke to Kate Ellis, a Solicitor at Centre for Women's Justice, who said the risk of this approach is that irrelevant elements of a victim's life - such as their sexual history - could be examined and used against them at trial. 


A CPS spokesperson said: “Balancing our duty to both respect privacy and ensure all reasonable lines of inquiry are pursued is an important challenge. We understand that how personal data is used can be a source of anxiety and have developed the new forms to provide clear and consistent information on this. Mobile telephones should not be examined as a matter of course and we have made that very clear in our guidance to police and to prosecutors.”


Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave admitted that he “wouldn’t relish” handing his own phone over to officers but added: “Being subject to a significant sexual offence is an awful thing to happen and we don’t wish to make it worse, but we want to pursue offenders.”



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