Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented, as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated.
The director of public prosecutions said it was time for the legal system to move beyond the concept of “no means no” to recognise situations where women might have been unable to give consent.
Alison Saunders said rape victims should no longer be blamed by society if they were too drunk to consent to sex, or if they froze and said nothing because they were terrified of their attacker.
Instead, police and prosecutors must put a greater onus on rape suspects to demonstrate how the complainant had consented “with full capacity and freedom to do so”.
Campaigners described the move as a huge step forward in ensuring that fewer rapists escaped justice. New guidance will be issued to all police forces and prosecutors as part of a “tool kit” to move rape investigations into the 21st century.
About 85 000 women a year are victims of rape in the UK, and 90% know the perpetrator. Only 1 070 convictions were recorded last year.
– The Daily Telegraph