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Sexual assault and court advice please

(9 Posts)
Strangeoccurence Tue 12-Jan-16 19:06:57

Does anybody have any information about this. Here are my questions:

If the person accused accepts they are guilty instantly, does this avoid court?
If so, what is the process?

If the person claims they are innocent and it goes to court, with no evidence and only versions of events from either side, what happens?

Is the accuser likely to be cross examined. If so, what happens here?
What if the accuser is too worried to stand in court?

Is it common for these kinds of cases to go to court, what is usually the outcome?

Are the perpetrators often found to get away with these things when there is little to no evidence?

More questions than i expected ha.

OddSocksHighHeels Tue 12-Jan-16 20:16:19

1. It's still a court hearing that determines sentence but not the same as one where facts need to be established to decide on a verdict.

2. There would be a court hearing with barristers for both the prosecution and defence to put forward their arguments. Witnesses (if there are any), medical reports if there are any, the accused having to answer to the case etc. This can take a while depending on the specific situations. A jury would most likely to be told to reach a verdict.

3. The accuser will often not want to be in court with the accused for obvious reasons, they may also not want to be in front of anybody for anonymity reasons so they don't have to be in court. A written statement of events or evidence via video link could be given.

4 and 5. I can't remember the exact statistics but it is, sadly, difficult to get a conviction for rape or sexual assault in the UK.

I'm not sure if you're asking for yourself or for somebody else but best of luck to whoever it is and well done on being strong enough to report it flowers

prh47bridge Tue 12-Jan-16 22:48:24

I can't remember the exact statistics but it is, sadly, difficult to get a conviction for rape or sexual assault in the UK

The statistic usually quoted is that the conviction rate for rape is only 6%. That is the proportion of reported rapes that result in a conviction for rape. The main reason for this figure being so low is that only 18% of reported rapes get as far as prosecution.

Of cases that come to court around 40% result in a conviction for rape. However, a significant number of cases don't get as far as being considered by the jury, predominantly because the prosecution drop the case (which means they think there is no prospect of a conviction) or the victim withdraws. If we only look at cases where the jury decides we find that juries convict in 52% of cases. This is similar to the conviction rate for other major crimes.

Strangeoccurence Tue 12-Jan-16 23:28:09

Thank you both. Very informative!

So basically, with no evidence of a sexual assault (no rape), it is going to viewed more along the lines of he said she said. So the chances of the prosecution dropping the case is very high.
However, if it did happen to get past the prosecution the chances are that there would be a higher chance of a conviction?

So...since there is nothing more than 'he said she said' there is going to be a huge upheaval and stress, all for the sake of it leading to nothing?

Or...is it thinking like that which causes most people to drop the case, so the true statistics can never really be seen because not enough people go through with it?

prh47bridge Wed 13-Jan-16 00:29:08

That's a very interesting set of questions.

If there is no evidence at all (no witnesses, no forensic evidence) it is all going to be down to the credibility of the victim and the accused. If the prosecution think the victim will come across as more credible than the accused they may proceed to prosecution. If it gets to the point of the defence giving evidence there is a good chance of conviction.

Personally I would always encourage victims to push on as far as the prosecution is willing to go so that we can get as many rapists of the streets as possible. But it isn't me that has to do it and I fully understand most of the reasons victims give for wanting the case dropped.

I do struggle with the 8% of reported rapes dropped because the victim is concerned about the impact on the suspect and even more so with the 2% of reported cases where the victim just wanted the police to talk to the suspect. But in cases such as you describe I would fully understand if the victim dropped it.

Destinysdaughter Wed 13-Jan-16 00:39:11

If there is no physical evidence and it's just ' he said, she said' it's very unlikely to get to court. The Crown Prosecution Service will look at the evidence and determine whether there is a high chance of conviction and if not, it's very unlikely the case will go ahead. Sadly, in many cases of rape or sexual assault it is one person' s word against another's which is part of the reason there's such a low conviction rate.

Is this something that's happened to yourself OP, is this why you're asking?

Strangeoccurence Wed 13-Jan-16 01:10:17

Thank you for all of the information. It has been very helpful.

Yes it has happened to myself. I have a meeting tomorrow, and i feel they are going to encourage me to take things further. Understandably. I wanted to gain an understanding of it all myself, so that im not swayed by them, if you know what i mean.
At least now i have the information from here, what i know myself and then further information tomorrow - i feel i will be able to make the right decision for me

Thank you

Destinysdaughter Wed 13-Jan-16 16:50:43

Also you can get support from Victim Support and if I'd did go to court the Witness Service is there to help you. If it went to trial you should be able to give evidence from behind a screen so that you can't see the perpetrator.

Strangeoccurence Wed 13-Jan-16 22:20:31

Thank you. I am working with victim support. They are arranging a time with the police to report. They said i would probably be video recorded when giving a statement. Which im assuming would be used again in court if it got that far. I doubt it will get that far though

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