In 2017, Amber Rudd pledged the government would hold a 12-month consultation on a victims’ bill of rights.

The government has been accused of failing women who have been subjected to sexual, psychological and violent abuse after it emerged that a clutch of new laws and codes to protect them have been shelved.

Among the proposed measures were laws to stop rape victims from being cross-examined in court about their previous sexual history, and tougher action on domestic violence. Both have now been sidelined.

In January 2017 the home secretary, Amber Rudd, pledged that the government would hold a 12-month consultation on a victims’ bill of rights. The initiative, giving victims new legal rights, including the right to be consulted on the conditions of their assailant’s release, was a Conservative manifesto commitment last year. But 13 months later, the consultation has not even begun.

The Ministry of Justice has, since July 2017, been promising a courts bill, which it said would include clauses tabled by opposition parties. The bill would bar convicted offenders from cross-examining their victims in person in the family and civil courts.

Liz Truss, the former secretary of state for justice, also promised last April to introduce amendments limiting cross-examination of rape victims on their past sexual history and their appearance at the time of their ordeal. However, the bill, originally due to be introduced before the last general election, has yet to appear.

The Tory 2017 manifesto outlined further plans for a new domestic violence bill. But Theresa May confirmed in parliament last month that the government was to consult on the matter before bringing forward legislation, an announcement that dismayed charities supporting vulnerable women.

Source: Ministers shelve pledge on women’s safety | Society | The Guardian


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