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New legal guidance for prosecutors helps to tackle rape myths and stereotypes against the changing picture of modern life

New legal guidance for prosecutors helps to tackle rape myths and stereotypes against the changing picture of modern life

The growing exchange of naked selfies, misconceptions about the use of ‘hook up’ dating sites and discussion of why sexual assault victims may remain in contact with their attacker all form part of new draft guidance for prosecutors on rape myths and stereotypes published by the Crown Prosecution Service today.

The material is part of a wide-ranging revision of legal guidance for prosecutors on rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) which is being launched for public consultation. It is the first full refresh since 2012 and includes updated guidance on dealing with digital material, as well as reasonable lines of enquiry. The suggested changes aim to reflect the changing world, especially the growth of the digital technology and its impact on sexual behaviours and encounters.

Our CEO, Fay Maxted said:  “Negative stereotypes and myths about rape victims are pervasive in society, creating a toxic environment where victims and survivors fear they will be judged or disbelieved, and where many survivors have experienced victim blame as a result.  For this reason, many survivors never report or delay reporting.   We therefore welcome the proposal to include information that will dispel misconceptions and misunderstandings with an up-to-date awareness of the way trauma can impact on behaviour and how to ensure a sensitive response to victims/survivors.”

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