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Flashcards in Sexual Offences Deck (12):

What restrictions are in place for rape/rape related cases?

Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992
Automatic reporting restrictions
Make it an offence for any publication to identify the victim/alleged victim of a sexual offence, IN THEIR LIFETIME, as being such a victim.
Kicks in as soon as complaint has been made.


Restrictions for other sexual offences

For almost all offences with a sexual element it is an offence for the media to identify the victim:
sexual assault (sexual touching/contact without consent), indecent contact towards a child, sexual activity with a child, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, meeting a child following sexual grooming, abusing a position of trust by sexual activity, voyeurism/exposure.


Indictable-only sexual offences

- rape
- assault by penetration
- causing/inciting a child under 13, or person with 'mental disorder impeding choice' to engage in sexual activity involving penetration
- attempt, conspiracy, incitement to commit the above
- aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring commission of any of above


Sexual Offences Act 1992

As soon as allegation of a sexual offence is made
by complainant or by some other person
no matter likely to lead to the victim/alleged victim being identified as the victim/alleged victim can be published
during his/her lifetime
Esp. should not publish name, address, school, work, picture/video
Also apply to reports of civil court cases and tribunal cases


When do the reporting restrictions in the Sexual Offences Act 1992 cease to apply?

Court can make order to lift if 'substantial and unreasonable' restriction on reporting if it is in the public interest (R v Hutchinson)
Court order at request of defendant so witnesses are encouraged to contact defence lawyers (without this judge must be satisfied defence would be substantially prejudiced)
If complainant is aged 16 or over and gives written consent providing no person interfered unreasonable with peace/comfort of complainant with intent to obtain consent
In a report of a court case in which charge(s) are other than sexual offence e.g. case where someone prosecuted for false sexual assault allegations


What about identifying the defendant?

Currently no law against it BUT in some cases cannot be identified as would identify victim e.g. in cases where father has abused their child


Victims of Human Trafficking for exploitation

Also get anonymity under the Modern Slavery Act 2015
As soon as allegation is made, restrictions are the same as under the Sexual Offences Act 1992
Victims/alleged victims get lifetime anonymity
*Trafficking isn't always cross border
*Perpetrator 'arranging or facilitating travel' with plan to exploit


What is the ethical position on identifying victims/alleged victims of sexual offences?
Editors Code Clause 7

Heading: Children in Sex Cases*
1. Press must not, even if legally free to do so, identify children under 16 as witnesses/victims in sex offence cases
2. In reports of sexual offence cases involving children the children must not be identified, adult may be identified, 'incest' cannot be used where child victim may be identified
* denotes public interest exception
Editors must demonstrate exceptional public interest in overriding interests of the child


What is the ethical position on identifying victims/alleged victims of sexual offences?
Editors Code Clause 11

Heading: Victims of sexual assault
Press must no identify victims of sexual assault or publish material likely to contribute to such identification unless there is adequate justification and they are legally free to do so (could be written consent as long as victim was not pressurised to give it.)


What does Ofcom Broadcasting code say about identifying victims/alleged victims of sexual offences?

Reinforces law.
Rule 1.8: Broadcasters should
'be particularly careful not to provide clues' which could lead to identification of children when by law they should have anonymity.
Warns against jigsaw identification


What counts as 'The Public Interest'

- Protecting public health/safety
- Protecting the public from being misled
- Disclosing miscarriage(s) of justice
- Detecting/exposing crime, threat of crime/serious impropriety
- Disclosing concealment
- Public interest in freedom of expression itself
- Editors invoking public interest will need to demonstrate they reasonably believed publication/journalists' activity would serve public interest.


Jigsaw Indentification

Describes effect when someone law has given anonymity to is identifiable to the public because of a combination/accumulation of detail published.
Can occur when 2 or more media organisations cover the same case.
Each many publish report which in itself preserves anonymity but Jig Id. can occur if some who reads/views/hears it combines different details in each thus recognising person who should be anonymous.
Can occur in sequential reports that allow detail to gradually accumulate.
Particular danger in cases of abuse within a family.
Same name for accumulation in a single report.