There is a serious concern that if we introduce anonymity for defendants in rape cases, other witnesses will not then come forward and rates of prosecution will drop. Hon. Members understood that the Government were to compile all available research and statistics, and report to the House before the summer. However, reports in the media say that that will not now happen. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman urge the Ministry of Justice to commission research into the impact on victims of rape and their likelihood of reporting the crime if anonymity is granted to defendants?
I have received many representations, including from Swansea student union and women’s groups in Swansea. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman now confirm once and for all, given the rumours, that he intends to drop plans to stop police giving out the names of those accused of rape whom the police believe are serial rapists?
I am not sure of any such proposals, but if the hon. Gentleman has information that would help me to reach a proper conclusion, or if he wishes to refer the matter to the Ministry of Justice, which has the policy lead on this issue, or the Home Office, given that it has responsibility for the police, I am sure his representations would be gratefully received.
I am very disappointed to hear that the research is now not going to be out until the autumn. An answer from a Justice Minister, on 17 June, said that it would be published before the summer recess. Will the research alluded to be original research into the incidence of malicious false accusations of rape, or will it be a survey of existing evidence?
The research will be research, and no doubt we will look into the matter as a whole. I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Lady—this must be very annoying for her—but she really needs to address her questions to the Ministry of Justice, which is the lead Ministry dealing with the issue.