New initiatives have been rolled out for sexual violence cases. This includes the pre-recorded cross-examination of complainants, and specialist courts to deal with the backlog of sexual assault trials.

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Specialist courts set up

The Justice Select Committee has recommended that specialist courts be introduced to deal with sexual violence cases. These will be set up in Leeds, Newcastle and Snaresbrook (London) Crown Court, all of which are dealing with a higher-than-average number of sex offence cases.

Court staff, police and prosecutors working on sexual assault cases will receive specialist trauma training. Independent Sexual Violence Advisors will also be available for complainants.

Pre-recorded cross-examination

Courtrooms across the country will also be equipped with new video technology to allow for the pre-recorded cross-examination of rape complainants. The system has already been trialled in 37 courts. This means some witnesses will not give evidence during a live trial.

New approach to investigating rape

These new initiatives will run alongside Operation Soteria, which sees academics working with police forces to examine their handling of rape cases. The purpose is to identify what operational changes can be made so that the focus is on the suspect, not the complainant.

Operation Soteria is currently in action in five police force areas, and will be expanded to 14 forces by March 2023. By June 2023, it is hoped these trials will lead to the creation of a new operating model, providing police forces across the country with a new approach to investigating and prosecuting rape cases.

Related: Is sexsomnia rape!

Sexual assault Lawyers

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