Pre-recorded evidence ‘vital’ for justice over violence against women


Some rapists and domestic abusers would have escaped justice if their victims could not give pre-recorded video evidence, a review found. The Ministry of Justice said some victims would “have likely dropped out or could not have survived if they had to wait for the trial”.

Ministers are urgently trying to increase the number of prosecutions for rape amid an epidemic of violence towards women.

Rape victims say they find it slightly easier giving pre-recorded video evidence than live in court.

This is because they do not have to face their attacker in court, and can access specialist support services quicker, they said.

One witness said: “Making it possible to pre-record, I have no words to explain how much pressure it took from my shoulders.”

MoJ figures show over two in five rape victims refuse to support prosecution of their attacker. Experts point towards delays of up to three or four years to see their attacker in court and a gruelling examination of their own lives.

Senior officials warned victims feel like they are the ones on trial.

But the review also found concern that video evidence may be less impactful.

Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “Pre-recorded evidence is an important part of our plan to improve rape victims’ experience of the justice system.”