Police are urged to stop treating rape victims like suspects when they report the attack 

Posted By Foster | Section: International News
  • Share
Information Commissioner John Edwards has ordered root-and-branch reform of the way forces seek information about victims of rape and other sex crimes


Police are urged to stop treating rape victims like suspects when they report the attack

  • The Information Commissioner is reviewing how rape victims provide data
  • The root-and-branch review calls for victims to stop being treated like criminals 
  • John Edwards called for an ‘immediate stop’ to a consent form which allows police access to medical records and counselling records

<!–

<!–

<!– <!–

<!–

<!–

<!–

Police must stop ‘wrongheaded’ investigations into rape victims which treat them like suspects when they report the crime, the privacy watchdog says today.

Information Commissioner John Edwards has ordered root-and-branch reform of the way forces seek information about victims of rape and other sex crimes.

He called for an ‘immediate stop’ to the use of a controversial consent form which grants detectives ‘indiscriminate’ access to information about individuals.

Known as a ‘Stafford statement’, it gives officers the ability to probe into every aspect of a person’s life, including their entire medical history and counselling records, the commissioner said.

‘We’ve seen police go to GPs for example, and saying not just give us the information from when you examined the victim post-assault, but collecting lifetime medical records. That’s completely unjustified, and unjustifiable.

‘Victims are being treated as suspects, and people feel re-victimised by a system they expect to support them,’ said Mr Edwards, who oversees data protection rules. He said detectives are ‘investigating victims’ in a bid to ‘eliminate any possible courtroom challenge’ at a later stage by the defendant’s barrister. ‘It’s just wrongheaded,’ Mr Edwards added.

‘I’m not going to impute bad intentions – I think they’re probably good intentions.

‘But I do think it’s misconceived to put yourself in the role of investigating the victim, to interrogate their life to see if there’s any part of the line of inquiry that might be of use to defence counsel.’

Police must ensure that individuals give ‘free and fully informed consent’ to officers accessing information about them, today’s Information Commissioner’s Office report says.

Mr Edwards added that his proposals would ‘reorient the investigation to put the victim at the centre of it’.

Also Read  Qatar Reportedly Bans Single World Cup Fans From Sex, Could Face 7 Years Behind Bars

Government figures show two out of five cases are closed because the victim withdraws cooperation from the police.

Assistant Chief Constable Timothy De Meyer, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: ‘We accept these recommendations and will continue to strive to protect privacy whilst observing the absolute right of defendants to a fair trial.’

Advertisement



Source link

  • Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.