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More support for rape victims in crown court

New measures mean that victims of rape and sexual assault will be spared cross-examination in court.

The aim of the new scheme, which is already successful in 12 crown courts, is to reduce trauma for victim and witnesses to help them give better evidence.

Video recordings will take place as close to the offence as possible while memories are fresh in the mind, letting victims avoid the stress of giving evidence in a court.

The measure is currently available in the following crown courts: Sheffield, Doncaster, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Winchester, Bournemouth, Bristol, Exeter, Gloucester, Plymouth, Salisbury and Truro.

But the extension now means that 26 crown courts will support the function, with the government planning to roll it our nationwide this Autumn.

Victoria Atkins MP, Minister for Tackling Violence against Women and Girls, said: “This measure is a key part of our plan to overhaul the justice system’s response to rape – minimising stress for victims and helping them to provide the best possible evidence.

“Alongside this, we’re recruiting more independent sexual violence advisers, launching a new 24/7 helpline and improving collaboration between police and prosecutors to ensure victims get the support and justice they deserve.”

The measure is also designed to maintain a defendant’s right to a fair trial and any decision to pre-record evidence is made by a judge on a case-by case basis.

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