News from Kezia Dugdale MSP
Kezia Dugdale, Labour MSP for the Lothian Region challenged Nicola Sturgeon at FMQs this afternoon to ensure that rape victims in Scotland would not have to choose between their privacy and the pursuit of justice.
There has been strong criticism in England and Wales throughout this week as rape victims are to be asked to hand over their phones to police – or risk prosecutions not going ahead.
Consent forms asking for blanket access to information including emails, messages and photographs are being rolled out across England and Wales.
Commenting after First Ministers Questions, Kezia Dugdale MSP said:
“Women in England and Wales have been told that their entire email, message and photograph history could be subjected to police examination should they report a rape to the police.
“Whether it’s what they wear, their sexual history, or who they text, women are once again being forced to choose between their privacy and the pursuit of justice.
“Access to justice isn’t a carrot to be dangled in front of victims, it is a right. When levels of reported rape in Scotland are so low, and convictions even lower, we must be making every effort not to deter victims from coming forward but creating a system that people can have confidence in.
“Introducing the requirement for victims to hand over their phone, or face their case being dropped, would further undermine women’s confidence in the justice system and mean less survivors coming forward.
“I welcome the comments from the First Minister who agreed with me that there must be safeguards in place to ensure this does not and could not happen in Scotland.”