- Showing 1 posts filed under: Case:Violence [–], Region: Europe [–] published between Jun 01, 2011 and Jun 30, 2011 [Show all]
Ken Clarke was right to start a debate about sentencing in rape cases
Justice for rape victims does not simply equate to long prison sentences. The Victims' Champion (pdf), Sara Payne, has urged us to reconsider our definition of justice, so it is "not just punishing a perpetrator and preventing further crimes". She suggested that an offender who pleaded guilty on the day of trial should not gain a discount, but that incentives for an early plea of guilt should be investigated. A 2009 academic study (pdf) on rape and the legal process also recommended looking at ways to encourage early admissions.
Further support for this approach can be found in the Stern Review (pdf) into how rape complaints are handled, which the government has said it endorses in full. Lady Stern found that securing a conviction and punishment is important for victims, but so is simply being believed. She advocated policies which "honour the experience" of rape, with victims feeling that their experience has been understood, its effects acknowledged and holistic support offered.