14th October 2016
WE express our concern for survivors' justice, following the flawed retrial of footballer Ched Evans.
The Women’s Equality Party today expressed deep concern that the flawed retrial of footballer Ched Evans would deter victims of sexual violence from reporting their assaults to the police.
“This case has raised many disturbing and urgent questions about the way the police and judicial system handle rape cases,” said Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker. “Ched Evans’ appeal was allowed after judges gave permission for two former sexual partners of the victim to give evidence in court about her sex life. This put the victim on trial, not the accused. Historical evidence of consensual sex does not preclude the possibility of rape.”
This week, new data showed that the number of rapes recorded by police in England and Wales has risen sharply by 135% over the past five years, while the rate of prosecutions has fallen.
"Women are continually told to ‘report it to stop it’ when it comes to sexual violence and abuse, but however much reporting increases the abuse never seems to stop,” said Walker. “The handling of this case is a clear sign to women that the justice system is stacked against them.”
Walker said further questions should be raised about the £50,000 reward Evans’ campaign team offered for information leading to his acquittal, as well as the continued, vitriolic campaign being waged against his accuser on social media.
“The woman at the centre of this case has been the subject of a sustained and vicious campaign on social media, and her identity revealed in spite of the law granting her lifelong anonymity. This casual tolerance of re-victimisation undermines our justice system and further alienates women from it.” said Walker. “We have seen many people join the Women’s Equality Party today because they are horrified at the injustices this trial has exposed and want to do something about it,” added Walker.
“WE stand with every survivor of sexual violence and say: we believe you and we believe you deserve justice. It’s time for a new, joined-up approach to tackling rape and sexual abuse both at the point at which it is reported and before, through preventative teaching in schools via compulsory SRE; public awareness campaigns to prevent sexual harassment; rehabilitation of offenders, and specialist support for every survivor,” Walker concluded.