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Petition: Make all sexual abuse offences exceptions under the double jeopardy rules

Petition: Make all sexual abuse offences exceptions under the double jeopardy rules

The Survivors Trust’s ambassador Dino Nocivelli has been campaigning to make all sexual abuse offences exceptions under the double jeopardy rules. The double jeopardy law states that someone who has been accused can’t be tried on the same charges unless there is ‘new and compelling evidence’  and the crime is considered ‘severe’ and ‘serious’. Currently the only exception for sexual abuse offences is rape but we believe that all child abuse offences should be included. Due to this rule, many victims will never be able to obtain justice or closure from the criminal courts as the law currently stands as their charges are not deemed “serious” or “severe” enough to be an exception to the double jeopardy rules.  

We welcome the petition and call for the public to sign this in support. The statistics speak for themselves – earlier this year we learned that only 37% of cases sent to the CPS between April and September 2018 led to charges. All victims of sexual offences should have faith in their legal system to feel they could achieve justice after all the purpose of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) is to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing the guilty and helping them to stop offending, while protecting the innocent. If this is true then why do 75% of victims of sexual offences go unreported? This figure clearly demonstrates that victims do not have faith in the criminal justice system’s ability to achieve this for them. We would urge you to please sign this petition to change the law to prevent these offenders from continuing to perpetrate these shocking crimes and allow justice for their victims.

Dino is the legal representative of five victims and survivors affected by this rule who are survivors of child abuser Bob Higgins who was a youth coach at Southampton Football Club. He explains that:

In the last two years, nearly 100 people have come forward to allege sexual abuse at the hands of Higgins and 23 of these people recently obtained guilty verdicts in their cases. The level of new and compelling evidence against Higgins would allow the original six cases to be re-tried if child sexual abuse was rightly classified as a serious crime. 
It is time that the case of the original six Higgins complainants is re-opened to ensure that justice is done for my clients. I urge you to help support this petition and our campaign for the forgotten six. It is our duty as a society to protect the innocent and enforce laws which support us in that aim. The IICSA [Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse] findings have reconfirmed the grave repercussions which follow those affected by child sexual assault throughout their lives. Now is the time for change.

The petition has gained support over the last few weeks, including from Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird. 

Please click here to sign the petition yourself and help survivors to access the justice they deserve.

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