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Sexual Assault Victims: Public Naming

Volume 698: debated on Tuesday 29 June 2021

It is an offence to publish any matter likely to identify a person who has made an allegation of rape or other sexual assault. The prohibition applies automatically from the moment the offence is reported and has effect throughout the complainant’s lifetime.

The public naming of a rape victim who has bravely come forward is devastating for the individual concerned, but under current legislation perpetrators of this crime get no more than a mere £200 fine. At a time when 44% of rape victims are actually pulling out of the justice system before their day in court, does the Minister agree that such lax laws can deter even more sexual assault victims from coming forward? If so, why did his Government vote down proposals that would have strengthened prosecuting powers against such perpetrators?

Those proposals were not appropriate for support, but we are having a think and will make an announcement shortly.