Between 2010-2018, three men raped me in separate criminal incidents. I reported the first two men to the police in Norway and the UK, but neither resulted in a proper investigation, let alone a prosecution and conviction. In my UK case, the man apologised and confessed in writing, and yet the Crown Prosecution Service (Public Prosecutor) still says it’s his word against mine. It’s no wonder I didn’t report the third rapist to the police.
My experience is in no way unique. It’s just one of 58,000 reported cases a year in the UK, in a so-called justice system that's been decimated by more than a decade of austerity. Victims like me are being failed at every point in the (in)justice system and by the underfunded health and support services that are supposed to help us survive and move forward.
That's why I’m fighting back by speaking out and raising awareness of these failings. My hope is for a system that sees rape victims’ rights at least equal to suspects’ rights, where we're treated with dignity and respect.
LANDMARK JUDICIAL REVIEW | JUDGEMENT @ 10:30 MONDAY 15TH MARCH 2021
My personal rape case spearheaded the collective legal challenge by the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In this landmark case, EVAW and the Centre for Women's Justice sought to hold the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to account for covertly changing their policy and practice on charging rape cases, which has led to rape prosecutions and convictions falling to an all-time low. Even before COVID-19 brought the court system to a grinding halt, only 1 in 71 reported perpetrators of rape (1.4%) were prosecuted - and even fewer resulted in a conviction. Although the CWJ/EVAW have a dossier of 21 case studies as examples of how the CPS is failing in rape prosecutions, my individual case is the only one that was used as direct evidence against the CPS/DPP.
The two-day judicial review was held in the Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice on 26th & 27th January 2021. The ruling of the judges is pending and will be handed down on MONDAY 15TH MARCH 2021 at 10:30AM.
#Lawyers4RapeJustice: campaigning for free & independent lawyers for victims of rape
Having three experiences of reporting rape to the police (with a lawyer in Norway and without a lawyer in the UK) I know from personal experience how crucial legal representation is to victims when reporting.
Since speaking at Parliament in July 2019, I've been calling for people reporting rape to be provided with lawyers from the beginning of the reporting process.
In January 2021, I joined Dr Olivia Smith and Ellen Daly (Criminologists at Loughborough University) to co-found/lead the campaign calling for the Government to provide free and independent lawyers for all victims reporting rape in England and Wales.