Rape victims safe from ordeal of police ‘fishing’
RAPE victims will no longer face “invasive” requests from the police to access their therapy notes or other personal records, ministers have announced.
It is hoped the change to the Government’s Victims and Prisoners Bill will give those who have been attacked the confidence to access therapy earlier without fear notes could be used against them in court.
The Bill says police should only request material that is “absolutely necessary” and proportionate to ensure that vulnerable people aren’t put off seeking vital support.
Ministers insist it will end expansive fishing expeditions for information that is often not relevant
to the investigation and used to undermine the victim’s credibility.
The Bill will also overhaul the parole system by allowing ministers to block the release of the most dangerous offenders including murderers, rapists, and terrorists.
Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk, said: “This important reform will end invasive, unnecessary requests for therapy notes for rape victims and give them the confidence to seek the help they need earlier, free from the fear that what they share in the process of healing could be weaponised against them.
“The Bill is ensuring victims are treated as participants in, not just spectators of, the justice system.”
The changes follow a Home Office consultation in 2022 which showed almost 90 per cent of people were in favour of a statutory duty on police forces to make only necessary and proportionate requests for the disclosure of third-party information.
The Government will also publish a robust code of conduct and forces who fail to abide by the new rules may face legal action.