Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has responded to new Government proposals to better protect victims of rape from intrusive and unnecessary investigation by the police.
In a landmark shake-up to reverse falling prosecution rates for rape, Safeguarding Minister Sarah Dines has unveiled plans for new legislation banning ‘unnecessary’ or ‘disproportionate’ requests for personal third-party records containing a victim’s medical, school or counselling data as part of an investigation.
Under the proposals, victims of rape will also receive a new legal right to demand why and what is being requested and how it will be used, in a bid to stem the number of witnesses who withdraw from court proceedings due to intrusive interrogation into their character and past.
Victims of rape are already protected from receiving unwarranted and intrusive requests for their mobile phone records or other digital data following amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill last year.
Responding to the latest announcement, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “This proposed legislation represents a significant breakthrough for survivors of rape. It promises to give many more victims the courage to come forward and report crimes to the police.
“Victims of crime should be our main focus. It is imperative victims of rape and sexual violence, especially, are treated with the utmost sensitivity and respect given the traumatic nature of their experiences.
“Investigations should concentrate on the suspect, not the victim. Of course, safeguarding victim privacy must always be balanced against the responsibility to protect the right of a suspect to a fair trial so it is essential that the new Code of Practice will be effective and transparent.
“Derbyshire Constabulary officers and staff work tirelessly to bring offenders to justice and this move will encourage more people to seek justice for this type of crime.’
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