Rape Trial Practicalities: Delays, Special Measures, and the Survivors’ Experience

  • Olivia Smith


Court responses to rape have predominantly been discussed in relation to pervasive stereotypes that trivialise or ‘justify’ rape and undermine survivors (Ellison & Munro, 2013; Temkin & Krahé, 2008); the use of evidence about survivors’ sexual history (Kelly, Temkin, & Griffiths, 2006); and high levels of attrition (Westmarland, 2015). Relatively little has been discussed about the practicalities of trial and their potential role in survivor justice. However, practical considerations are central to the meaningful participation that survivors say they want, and so it is important to examine the seemingly mundane aspects of court. Indeed, S. Payne (2009) has argued that survivors are very anxious before and during their court attendance, especially when there are delays. This may partly explain why ‘fear of going to court’ is the most common reason for survivors withdrawing support for the prosecution, a key aspect of attrition (Lovett, Uzelac, Horvath, & Kelly, 2007). Rather than being extraneous, the practicalities of trial therefore require attention and will be given such in this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivia Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK

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