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JURIES is petitioning the Justice Secretary to introduce mandatory briefings of juries on myths about rape and sexual violence at the beginning of trials for sexual offences.

This petition had 885 supporters


"When my ex was found not guilty of raping me, I was told it was because I was up against the myth that rape does not happen in relationships.  This is why JURIES is so vital.  A better informed and educated jury may have meant that I got justice, instead my abuser walked free."

We want to see greater justice for survivors of sexual violence who choose to access the criminal justice system.

Several recent high profile cases have evidenced how the general public has fixed preconceived ideas of what constitutes rape, a victim and a perpetrator of sexual violence.  Given that juries are constituted of members of the public, these views are highly prejudicial.  In this light, it is crucial, therefore, that juries are better informed about the myths, stereotypes and realities of sexual violence, in the form of a generic briefing before a trial commences.



Myths and stereotypes (such as victims are able to recall every aspect of their assault in a linear fashion; that rape is predominantly stranger perpetuated; a 'crime of passion; that if a victim is rendered incapable of giving consent then it is not rape intoxicated; that if there was no physical force then it is not rape/assault/abuse) about rape and sexual violence are:

deeply entrenched and need to be robustly challenged both in and out of the courtroom
a barrier to survivors of sexual violence not only reporting but also to accessing support services.
an obstacle to those going through the court process seeing justice.  Research with mock juries demonstrates the influence of such firmly held beliefs when a case does not fit with the stereotypical ‘knife wielding stranger leaping out of alleyway.
There have been various reforms in the judicial process for the prosecution of sexual offences, however we still have a long way to go.

The conviction rate in England and Wales for rape, child sexual abuse, sexual assault and other types of sexual offending fell from 61 per cent to 55 per cent in 2013[1]

This needs to change.







Facts about sexual violence

It is estimated that:



approximately 85,000 females report being a victim of the most serious offences of rape or sexual assault by penetration in the previous 12 months
around 12,000 males report being a victim of the same types of offences in the previous 12 months
Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year
1 in 5 women (aged 16 - 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16[2]
Further reports illustrate that:



56% of female victims of serious sexual assault reported that a partner/spouse or ex-partner/spouse[3]
10 % of rapes are committed by a stranger [4]
Approximately 15 % of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police [5]


In October 2014 the Office for National Statistics reported:



Sexual offences recorded by the police saw a 21% rise from the previous year and continues the pattern seen in recent publications. Current, rather than historic, offences account for the majority of the increase in sexual offences (73% within the last 12 months). Despite these recent increases, it is known that sexual offences are subject to a high degree of under-reporting.[6]



Please sign this petition to help survivors of sexual violence see justice and to prevent rapists and sexual abusers from walking free from court to offend again.

Full details of our campaign can be read here.

Our FAQs section is here.



[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10834569/Conviction-rate-for-sex-crime-in-sudden-drop.html

[2] ONS January 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/an-overview-of-sexual-offending-in-england-and-wales

[3]Rights of Women From Report to Court 2014 

[4]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/214970/sexual-offending-overview-jan-2013.pdf p6

[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/214970/sexual-offending-overview-jan-2013.pdfp6



[6]ONS year ending June 2014 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/period-ending-june-2014/index.html


http://juriesunderstandingsv.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/juries-campaign-brief/



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