Clare Bailey: Victims of sexual crime are treated like they’re on trial

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

The criminal justice system is not fit for purpose when it comes to dealing with sexual crimes.

Victims are re-traumatised and are treated like they are on trial.

The system is designed to defend the rights of the accused with little regard for the victim.

The media reporting of rape trials is intrusive, salacious and biased towards undermining the victim’s testimony.

It serves to increase the distress of victims and survivors of sexual abuse and rape.

Cases should not be reported on until after the jury has given its verdict.

The criminal justice treatment and media reporting of this trial will deter victims from coming forward and reporting in the future.

The rampant culture of victim blaming and shaming needs to be addressed.

We urgently need to have a compulsory comprehensive relationship and sexuality education programme in all schools which includes consent and toxic masculinity.

We need adequately resourced support services for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse.

I advise those who have been re-traumatised and need help following the reporting of the trial to contact Nexus at 028 9032 6803 or the Women’s Aid 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline at 0808 802 1414.

Clare Bailey, Green Party MLA, South Belfast