The Sunday Times
Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!
3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Sunday, 19 March 2017
Rape Victims to be Spared Court Ordeal & Law Against Grooming Children
Elizabeth Truss says ‘balance between the accuser and defendant will not change’
FRANCESCO GUIDICINITim Shipman, Political Editor, and Tom Harper
The Sunday Times
United Kingdom - Alleged rape victims will no longer face cross-examination live in court under reforms announced today by Elizabeth Truss, the justice secretary and lord chancellor.
From September victims will be able to give evidence in a pre-recorded video that will be played to the jury once the trial begins.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times, Truss revealed that she is bringing forward plans for recorded cross-examination for all adult sexual offences tried in crown courts after three cities used taped evidence in child sex cases.
She said the pilot schemes showed that defendants, when confronted with the strength of the evidence against them before the trial, were more likely to plead guilty early, reducing the trauma for rape victims, speeding up justice and saving money.
Pre-recorded evidence is already being launched nationwide for child sex cases.
Yes! Thank you! Great step forward.
Crackdown of grooming kids
The justice secretary also announced a crackdown on paedophiles grooming children on social media with a new offence of “sexual communication with a child”. Those convicted will automatically go on the sex offender register and face up to two years in jail.
Under plans for the new paedophile grooming offence, police and the courts will enforce an offence of “sexual communication with a child”, which will make it a criminal offence for anyone aged 18 or over to communicate intentionally with a child under 16, where the communication is sexual or intended to elicit a sexual response.
The offence has been on the statute book for two years, but has never been enforced due to lack of resources. The Ministry of Justice expects 170 prosecutions for the new offence this year, rising to 350 prosecutions in 2018-19.
Cross examination of rape victims
Truss said the change to rape trials would allow judges to cut out any inappropriate cross-examination of rape victims referring to their sexual history before it could be seen by a jury.
The move will also end the trauma of victims being confronted in court by their attackers. The minister said she had been shocked to learn about a case in which a defendant faced his accuser wearing the same clothes in which he had allegedly committed the rape.
“There is more we can do to help alleged victims in these cases give the best possible evidence they can give in an environment that is much more suitable than open court. We’ve been trialling this for children in cases of child sex abuse,” Truss said.
“What this has led to is a much higher level of early guilty pleas. That has a huge amount of benefit. It resolves the case much earlier for the victim. It reduces the level of trauma for the victim. I want to see that being the standard offer in those cases and that will give more victims the confidence to come forward.”
The justice secretary will outline both plans tomorrow, when MPs are scheduled to vote on the second reading of the Prisons and Courts Bill, which she described as the “most major change in courts since the Victorian era”.
She stepped in because the courts system is stretched to breaking point by a huge influx of sex cases.
There are plans for recorded cross-examination for all adult sexual offences being tried in crown courts after three cities used taped evidence in child sex cases
Domestic abuse, rape and sexual offences now account for nearly 19% of the Crown Prosecution Service workload, more than double the figure six years ago. In some courts it is half the caseload.
Campaigners claim only 5.7% of reported rape cases end in a conviction for the perpetrator. Sex cases also take far longer to resolve than normal trials. The average time from charge to prosecution is 70 days. The average time in sexual offences cases is 234 days.
Under the new regulations, victims and vulnerable witnesses would be able to give evidence “in a room in the court where it’s much less intimidating, where there are ground rules set by the judge,” Truss said.
Judges will be able to limit the length of the cross-examination to avoid victims having to testify for days on end and will determine the types of questions that can be asked.
Truss said: “At the moment prior sexual history can only be asked about in exceptional circumstances, but sometimes questions can be asked that verge on that territory. If you have the pre-trial cross-examination, much clearer ground rules are set. If a question is asked that is inadmissible, that can be cut out of the tape by the judge.”
The plan was welcomed by the family of Ceri Linden, 20, who took her own life after being raped on a night out with friends in 2014. She swallowed blood pressure pills soon after being told that she might have to relive her ordeal on the witness stand in court.
Before she took her own life, Ceri had helped police catch her attacker, Masood Mansouri, by outlining the rape in a video interview. It was the first time in Britain that a rape conviction had been secured without the victim being cross-examined and Mansouri was jailed for 13 years in April 2015.
Ceri’s mother, Eleri Linden, from Colwyn Bay in north Wales, said: “I do think it is outrageous that victims of such appalling crimes are made to be cross-examined and relive their traumatic ordeals all over again.
“Ceri was told there was a possibility she would have to give evidence. She was distressed about the thought of having to give evidence and I’m sure these reforms would have helped her a great deal.”
Others questioned whether the proposals would tip the balance of justice too far away from the defendant.
James Conte, who founded the website accused.me.uk, a support group for victims of false allegations, said: “Whilst we would welcome measures that would increase the rape convictions of people who really have committed rape, if you are a wholly innocent victim of someone trying to frame you, you will not welcome these changes because they will increase the chances that you will be wrongfully convicted. That does not serve the interests of justice.”
Zoe Gascoyne, chairwoman of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association, warned that taped interviews often took place long before the proceedings commenced and could not take account of real-time developments in the case. “This may be a step too far,” she said.
Truss responded: “This is not about changing the balance between the accuser and the defendant. The right to a fair trial remains a principle of our criminal justice system. In the trials we’ve been doing on childhood sexual abuse we haven’t seen a significant difference in the conviction rate.”