19 Oct 2016
Urgent call for research into use of sexual history evidence
The SCCJR’s Professor Michele Burman has issued an urgent call for research into the use of sexual history evidence in rape cases, following the acquittal of footballer Ched Evans.
In blog co-authored with Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland, Prof Burman notes that research published in 2007 found such evidence was still frequently being used, despite the introduction of “rape shield” legislation in the 1980s.
“We were shocked and horrified to see the use of such blatantly prejudicial sexual history evidence in the Ched Evans retrial,” write the authors. “We have long had very strong concerns about the use of sexual history or sexual character evidence being used to discredit rape complainers.”
Calling for more research, they add: “We need to know whether or not the law is protecting rape complainers in the way the Scottish Parliament intended when they passed the legislation.”
The Ched Evans case puts rape reform back 30 years – Rape Crisis Blog