Rape Myths and the Effective Delivery of Judicial Directions

33 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2020

See all articles by Miranda Smith

Miranda Smith

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 2, 2019

Abstract

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

Smith, Miranda, Rape Myths and the Effective Delivery of Judicial Directions (September 2, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 3/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3550893 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3550893

Miranda Smith (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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