Survivors of sexual assault in England and Wales are now risking their case being dropped when they drop their electronic hand Do not drop police devices that give law enforcement access to some of their most intimate personal information. Victims also run the risk of being charged with completely different offenses if they decide to comply.
According to the Associated Press, law enforcement will now ask victims of crime, including rape rape, to sign a consent form in which they request permission to take electronic devices to access mobile data that may be available to them Examination are relevant.
"If you deny the police permission to investigate, or if the Prosecution divulges material that allows the defendant a fair trial, the investigation or prosecution may not proceed," the form says. after the AP.
Potentially intimidating for victims is the possibility that the police will find evidence of other crimes on their devices that could potentially be prosecuted: The New York Times reports that a statement to the victims accompanying the seizure approval form , reads: "If information is identified From your device, which provides for the commission of a separate offense, with the exception of the offenses against which the investigation is based, the relevant data can be kept and examined by the police. "1
The Council added in the press release that access to data in personal devices may be of value to the police in sexual violence, as these are cases where "suspects and victims know each other". 19659005] "We understand that the use of personal information can be a source of anxiety," the Council wrote. "We would never want victims to feel they can not report crimes because they've invaded their data."
While asking for assent, this sounds like a choice, and threatens to break off an investigation when his absence is there, a well-worded intimidation tactic. In addition, the methodology of what kind of investigation might be required to gain access to this private information – and all the devices that hold that data – is vague, merely citing the policeman's belief that it is Information is necessary. Finally, there is the fact that victims who have consented to the seizure of their equipment must weigh the possibility that the police may find evidence of unrelated crimes.
"We seem to return to the bad old days when victims of rape are treated as suspects," said Harriet Wistrich, director of the Center for Women's Justice, to the BBC. The Center for Women's Justice told the AP that this policy "clearly has a deterrent effect on rape allegations".
Two women who were sexually abused and who talked to the BBC also showed that this new protocol is not only an invasion of privacy, but also exacerbates a traumatic experience. A woman raped in April 2016 and handing her phone to the police said she would not get it back until after two years of repeated demand. "You did not even take the phone off the offender," she said. "I have given his name and address. He had no consequences. "Another woman who was sexually abused last summer decided not to give her phone to the police. "When I got to the interview and did not hand over the phone, I got the feeling that I had done something wrong. It felt so invasive, "she said. "I halfway through the interview and then stopped. It was almost as traumatic as the incident itself. "