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Pre-recorded cross examination now available nationwide

The changes allow rape victims across England and Wales to record their evidence prior to the trial in order to avoid the stress of being cross-examined during a live trial.

As of today, every Crown Court in England and Wales will be able to offer victims of crimes such as rape and modern slavery the chance to video record their cross examination ahead of their trial.

Individuals would have to make an application to the court to do so and decisions would be made on a case by case basis. The recording would take place as close to the time of the offence as possible – while memories remain fresh.

The scheme has already been successfully implemented for vulnerable victims - such as children or those with limited mental and physical capacity in relation to these offences.

The government has also announced that the same process will be piloted for children and vulnerable adult witnesses of all offences at Leeds Youth Court.

More than 3,000 witnesses have benefited from the technology so far.

It comes as part of the pledge within the Rape Review Action Plan to reduce the number of victims withdrawing their cases.

Meanwhile, the latest Rape Review Progress report committed to piloting specialist rape support in three courtrooms – Snaresbrook, Leeds and Newcastle. The specialist courts will offer support including ISVAs and trauma-trained court staff.

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “We’re overhauling the entire response to rape – boosting support for victims so that more cases come to court and more rapists are put behind bars.

“Today we have delivered on our pledge to roll out pre-recorded evidence to every Crown Court in England and Wales, sparing victims of this awful crime the additional trauma of testifying under the full glare of a courtroom.”

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