Acting to stop harm: the FCA and Appointed Representatives
Since the last blog, Ruby has reported the allegation to the police and her friends, Martin and Stacey have been interviewed as witnesses. In this blog, we will look at how reporting a rape or sexual assault would really unfold in practise. In part 3, we will consider witness interviews.
Earlier this week, the BBC and The Victoria Derbyshire programme reported on a new warning notice scheme being issued by some police forces in England and Wales. The notices are issued when police have received intelligence raising concerns about an individual’s sexual behaviour but there is insufficient evidence for the matter to proceed to charge.
EastEnders has always prided itself on dealing with topical and sensitive issues in its storylines. The long running soap has had countless iconic plotlines since it started in 1985 and it has not shied away from covering controversial topics including murder, domestic abuse and paedophilia. Last week, the first episodes of a new hard-hitting plot aired, which is centred on the rape of Ruby Allen (played by Louisa Lytton) after a night in the local nightclub with her friends. The focus of the storyline appears to challenge the stereotyping and myths that can surround allegations of sexual assault and consent. It comes at a time when there is a real cultural shift in terms of discussing sexual assaults and perceptions of consent and highlights clearly just how complex and challenging it can be to prove allegations of sexual misconduct.
Anyone who has ever been to university remembers fresher’s week. The first real taste of freedom, alcohol and sex create a heady combination and the possibility of falling foul of the law regarding rape, sexual offences and other lesser offences. Our memories are of course affected by the #MeToo landscape of today and the lessons learnt from #WhyIDidntReport. At this time of year many young students leave home for the first time and head to university. Attending one party after another, often with excessive alcohol intake, meaning problems can arise the “next morning”, as to whether someone did or did not consent to sex.
On 21 August 2018, the Home Office launched a consultation in respect of further revisions to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Codes of Practice. While the consultation period is no surprise (it is a statutory requirement), it is breath-taking that such basic standards of decency need to be introduced to the minimum standards of treatment for detained individuals.
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