‘I would never tell someone to take their case to court’: Campaign to end ‘humiliating and degrading’ rape trials for victims

A woman has taken on a campaign to reform the criminal justice system to support rape victims in court after the man who was accused of raping her was acquitted in a trial she described as “humiliating and degrading,” two years ago.

The woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons – had lived in Brixton for more than 20 years at the time of the case.

She is now part of the campaign Open Justice for All – set up last year – alongside other women who have experienced rape trials.

She said: “My trial was humiliating and degrading. I’m still traumatised by it – my therapy isn’t based on the rape but the trial. 

“I would never tell someone to take their case to court now.” 

Open Justice For All – which is backed by London’s Victim Commissioner Claire Waxman – calls for victims to have the right to attend their trial, sentencing and the hearing after giving evidence.

The woman said: “Victims in rape cases are strongly advised not to stay in court after they give evidence. 

“There’s a power dynamic – you know your case can be dropped at any moment so you have to be good. If they tell you not to turn up you don’t go.

“I still don’t know what the judge said to the jury.”

The campaign also calls for legislative changes including full transcripts or audio recordings of Crown Court hearings, sentencing remarks and judge summaries, to be provided to victims on request at no cost.

In June 2023, the Ministry of Justice updated the Victims Code, which entitled adult rape victims to meet the CPS ahead of a trial (Picture: Google Street View)

She said: “You’re not told that you can ask the judges for the transcripts.

“The cost depends on the length of the trial, mine would be about £7,000, a friend was quoted £22,000.

“It’s cruel to leave victims in the dark. It feels like we don’t matter.”

In June 2023, the Ministry of Justice updated the Victims Code, which entitled adult rape victims to meet the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ahead of a trial to understand the process and special measures that may be available.

While the news was welcomed by campaigners, the CPS has been asking prosecutors to speak to victims before trial for the past 20 years. 

The woman said: “Rape victims are not entitled to legal advice and do not have a legal representative. The prosecutor is there on behalf of the Crown. 

“I met the prosecutor on the morning of my trial for five minutes. I had no further contact with him – he didn’t even tell me about the verdict.”

The woman said this makes court cases especially traumatising for victims.

She said: “I was asked horrendous questions – the position I was in when it was happening. They said I regularly cry during sex.”

The woman also said evidence had been left out of the trial including her 999 call to report the rape to police.

She said: “A man read my 999 call to the court, they said parts of the call weren’t allowed but didn’t tell me why it couldn’t be edited. The jury didn’t hear my crying or how I had phrased things. It could have been misinterpreted.

“The defence is there to discredit you and you don’t understand the law well enough to know what is and isn’t allowed.”

A spokesman from the Ministry of Justice said: “It is vital victims get the support and information they need which is why we’ve announced a new pilot scheme to enable victims of rape and other serious sexual offences to request a transcript of Crown Court sentencing remarks free of charge.

“We continue to look at all other options to reduce the costs of providing transcriptions.”

The CPS have been approached for comment.

Pictured top: The Ministry of Justice headquarters (Picture: Google Street View)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.