Some rapists and domestic violence would have escaped justice if their victims failed to provide pre-recorded video evidence, a review found. The Department of Justice said some of the victims “probably would have dropped out or couldn’t have survived if they had had to wait for trial”.
Ministers are urgently seeking to increase prosecutions for rape amid an epidemic of violence against women.
Rape victims say they find it slightly easier to provide pre-recorded video evidence than live in court.
This is because they don’t have to confront their attacker in court and have faster access to specialized support services, they said.
A witness said, “To allow for pre-recording, I have no words to explain how much pressure it took off my shoulders.”
MoJ figures show that more than two in five rape victims refuse to support the prosecution of their attacker. Experts point to delays of up to three or four years to see their attacker in court and a grueling examination of their own lives.
Senior officials warned that victims feel they are on trial.
But the review also revealed concerns that video evidence may have less impact.
Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “Pre-recorded evidence is an important part of our plan to improve rape victims’ experience of the justice system.”