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Equally Safe - Reforming the criminal law to address domestic abuse and sexual offences

Equally Safe - Reforming the criminal law to address domestic abuse and sexual offences

Thursday, March 26, 2015

ISBN: 9781785442698

A consultation on proposals to create specific offences concerning domestic abuse and the non-consensual sharing of private, intimate images, the introduction of statutory jury directions in sexual offence cases, the extra-territorial effect of the law concerning sexual offences committed against children and the circumstances in which a court can grant a non-harassment order.

Executive Summary

This consultation seeks views on a number of issues relating to how the criminal law and criminal justice system addresses domestic abuse and sexual offences.

We are seeking views on five specific issues:

The question of whether the current criminal law reflects the true experience of victims of long-term domestic abuse, including coercive control, and whether a specific domestic abuse offence would improve the ability of people to access justice through effective prosecution of domestic abuse;

The need for a specific new criminal offence to address the sharing of private intimate images without permission from the subject of the images (often referred to as ‘revenge porn’);

The need for jury directions in sexual offence cases to provide guidance on how juries should consider:

o The fact that a significant period of time elapsed between the time the offence occurred and the reporting of the offence to the police

o the absence of the use of physical force by the alleged attacker or the absence of use of physical resistance on the part of the alleged victim;

Changes to the disposals available to a court where a person is found unfit to stand trial due to a mental or physical condition but an examination of facts finds that they did commit acts constituting an offence; and

Extension to the extra-territorial effect of the law concerning sexual offences against children to include offences committed elsewhere in the United Kingdom.