Observing court responses to victims of rape and sexual assault                

 
Author(s)Smith, Olivia and Tina Skinner
Title Observing court responses to victims of rape and sexual assault
Source Feminist Criminology,2012, Vol. 7, No 4, pp.298-326
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Coverage United Kingdom
Summary Although there have been numerous policy reforms over the years, it is evident that the courts are resistant to change, particularly in terms of the treatment of victims of rape and sexual assault. The article undertakes a qualitative approach and uses court observation in order to examine how judicial officers treat rape cases to further understand why the system is so impervious when it comes to improving victim treatment. The common themes that were found throughout the observations were: routine delays, questioning the 'rational' state of victims, interpretations of the 'burden of proof' and 'beyond reasonable doubt' and the adversarial system being one of competition with winning as priority. The research stated that long term strategies for change are needed in order to address the inadequate judicial responses in regards to victims of rape and sexual assault.
Keywords Adversarialism; courts; observation; rape; sexual assault; trials; victim justice
Topic

Criminal justice system