At Welsh Women’s Aid our thoughts are with the young woman in this case, who has suffered the ordeal of a retrial and the psychological trauma associated with giving evidence in a rape case.
The consequences of reporting rape and of going through the criminal justice system are significant. There are still widespread assumptions, judgements and victim-blaming attitudes held by members of the public around consent, what rape involves and how victims should respond, and these views will also be represented amongst those who make up juries too.
Despite these attitudes, the number of rape cases recorded by the police has doubled over the last four years. This suggests more women are coming forward, and feel confident to report and to seek justice, even though the reality is that obtaining a conviction in cases of rape is still very rare.
Whatever the outcome of a court case, or regardless of whether women are ready to report to the police, women who feel they have been raped or sexually abused need to know there is help and support available. We would encourage anyone in Wales who feel they’ve been raped or sexually abused, whether or not they feel able to report this, to contact the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800. The Helpline provides 24-hour, confidential help and support every day of the year and can put people in touch with local specialist services where this is needed.