Rape victims' experiences of giving evidence in English courts: a survey
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Nineteen rape victims who had given evidence in court in English courts were interviewed. Questions concerned their examination in court, their perceptions of the criminal justice system, particularly criminal court processes, and the perceived utility of 'special measures' to facilitate giving evidence. Participants believed that prosecution lawyers generally did not accuse them of lying, attack what they said, put their character in doubt, put words in their mouth or use trick or leading questions. Defence lawyers were perceived to be significantly more likely to use these techniques. Participants reported that they felt they understood what was going on and, importantly, felt that they were reasonably able to give accurate evidence. They generally showed high levels of satisfaction with the way they had been treated, and positive attitudes towards measures to make giving evidence less stressful.
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law