Rape Myths and the Effective Delivery of Judicial Directions
33 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2019
Myths and misconceptions about rape continue to be influential in rape trials despite reform in this area. In the Law Commission’s recent review of the Evidence Act it recommended that judges be enabled to make directions on myths and misconceptions that might arise in sexual violence cases. In this paper I assess the Law Commission’s recommendations and argue that they lack detail and are insufficient to ensure the effective delivery of judicial directions on rape myths. There needs to be more consideration given to the effect the timing of directions has on jury decision-making, judges need to be accountable for delivering the relevant directions where they are appropriate, and there needs to be stronger guidance on how to formulate effective directions. Judicial education is also needed to ensure judges have the competence and confidence to effectively deliver directions on rape myths. If this occurs, the influence of rape myths on decision-making throughout the criminal justice process might be reduced.
Keywords: rape myths, judicial directions, law commission
JEL Classification: K00, K14, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation