From petition creator, Jo:
In less than three days we made the courts - and the country - sit up and listen that in cases of child abuse: it's never the child's fault.
Sexual abuse is about power. When it happened to me I had no power. Thousands of other women have their power taken away. Yesterday you and 45,000 others stood together and took some of that power back.
When I heard that a man had walked free from court on Monday despite pleading guilty to 'sexual activity with a child' after the prosecution and judge described the thirteen year-old victim as a "sexual predator", I started a Change.org petition.
Over 45,000 people signed, calling on the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate and review the comments made. The campaign hit the front page of Wednesday's Independent and was covered by Sky and BBC News.
Leading child welfare charities spoke out against the court's comments and David Cameron backed our call.
Yesterday afternoon I got a letter from Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions. He wrote:
"The language used by the prosecution counsel in this case was inappropriate. In particular, the use of the word 'predatory' to describe the 13 year old victim is of great concern to me...I will be reviewing this case to decide what action is necessary."
The lord chief justice also announced that a group of specially trained judges would be created to hear child sex abuse cases.
I am grateful to Keir Starmer for taking such decisive action in response to our campaign. There is a long way to go and there will be many battles to fight if we are to stamp out victim blaming for good. Yesterday we took a huge step in the right direction.
Thank you so much for your support.
Trigger warning: this petition text contains references to sexual assault that may be triggering to survivors.
On Monday, a man walked free from Snaresbrook Crown Court despite pleading guilty to ‘sexual activity with a child’ after the prosecutor Robert Colover and judge Nigel Peters described the thirteen year-old victim as a “sexual predator”.
I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I could have been that 13 year old girl who the judge and prosecutor descrbed as 'predatory'. Now, I work with other women who have survived similar experiences. I have seen first hand how this kind of victim blaming prevents women from coming forward and protects men who commit these crimes.
It’s unacceptable that the Crown Prosecutor - the person who this young girl was relying on to help get her justice - used this kind of language in court. It’s a sad fact that this kind of attitude is commonplace within society and the legal establishment. We need to make a stand and send a clear message: It’s never the child’s fault.
I’m calling on the Crown Prosecution Service to look at the language used by Robert Colover and meet urgently with our organisation and other groups working with victims of rape and sexual assault to ensure this never happens again.
Please join me.