This site is in beta mode while we add the remaining policies. To feedback or help, please get in touch!
In Progress
Train publicly-funded advocates in handling victims of serious sexual offences

Publicly-funded advocates will have specialist training in handling victims before taking on serious sexual offences cases.

Our Verdict

Victims of crimes of a sexual nature may find undergoing a court case particularly intimidating and traumatic. The right of those accused of a crime to challenge evidence against them must be balanced against the need to avoid taking advantage of vulnerable individuals. A report by the Institute for Policy Research at Bath University found that:

“Criminal justice responses to rape and sexual assault in the UK have long been criticised for treating victims with suspicion and subjecting them to aggressive questioning”

This policy promises to ensure that publicly-funded advocates who take on cases involving serious sexual offences will have received specialist training in how to handle victims.

In September 2018, the government published its Victims Strategy which “sets out a criminal justice system wide response to improving the support offered to victims of crime”.  The strategy contains details of “specialist training for all advocates who question witnesses in cases of a serious sexual nature involving vulnerable adults and children”. According to the government:

“The training programme delivers the manifesto commitment: “Publicly- funded advocates will have specialist training in handling victims before taking on serious sexual offences” and goes beyond that commitment. Training is available to all advocates, not just those working on publicly funded cases.”

The training website, however, states that “training will become mandatory…”, with no indication of precisely when it will become mandatory. We’ll be consulting with the Inns of Court College of Advocacy and with government to confirm whether or not this training is now a mandatory requirement. If it is, we’ll move this to ‘done’, but for now we’re marking it as ‘in progress’.

Read more

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we track policies, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why or submit an edit.

Get involved!

Whether you are for or against this policy or just want to know more, it's never been easier to get involved and have your say. Try these for starters…

Join the discussion On this page, or Twitter, or Facebook. Democracy is better shared!
Follow this policy We'll send you email alerts every time something interesting happens.
Ask your MP Ask your MP to help you support or block this policy - write to them here.
Get the facts Sense about Science and Full Fact are great for evidence and fact checking.
Get ahead! The Simple Politics newsletter breaks it all down for you - before it happens!