Technology offers new support for Herts rape victims

Rape victims in Hertfordshire no longer have to attend court in person, thanks to a new facility which allows them to give evidence through a live video link.

The technology means that victims do not have to be in the same room or even the same location as the defendant during court proceedings, something which can be extremely traumatic.

It was paid for by the Ministry of Justice following a bid by the police and crime commissioner.

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Detective Chief Inspector Fiona Gaskell, from Herts Police’s crime and safeguarding command, said: “This is a significant step in improving services for victims and bringing offenders to justice, as it gives vulnerable victims and witnesses the opportunity to present their experiences at court, from a protective and supported environment.

“Victims often tell us that they don’t want to go to court to give evidence as it is not an easy experience for anyone. We hope that this facility will support victims and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Hertfordshire police and crime commissioner David Lloyd said: “Using technology to improve victims’ experiences of the judicial system has been a key theme of my Police and Crime Plan and we have already made great strides in implementing facilities to put Hertfordshire at the fore.

“Utilising this technology for rape victims is the latest development in our LiveLink network, which allows victims and witnesses, including police officers, to share evidence in circumstances that offer protection and convenience sensitive to their needs.

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“This technology is by no means new - following the successful rollout of virtual court systems in all Hertfordshire custody centres, initial success supporting disabled users and now supporting rape victims, my vision is to see LiveLink become the default system for police officer evidence countywide.”

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