A REVIEW is needed into how victims and witnesses are treated, says Bolton’s police and crime commissioner, after a woman fell to her death three days after a man was found not guilty of raping her
Tony Lloyd has called for the review following the death of Tracy Shelvey, who fell from a shopping centre roof in Rochdale three days after the court case at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.
He has requested an urgent meeting with Keir Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions. Mr Starmer has been commissioned by the Labour Party to review how victims of rape and child sex assault are treated in the process.
Mr Lloyd said: “We have to learn from this tragedy and others that have come before. What is abundantly clear is that victims and witnesses are not where they should be – at the heart of the criminal justice system.
"The court process is a brutal one, and the fact that we have had at least two people in Greater Manchester alone who have taken their lives after going through this ordeal is of grave concern. Many, many rape victims say that the court process is as traumatic as their original ordeal.
“This can’t go on — a root and branch review of how victims and witnesses are treated is urgently needed.
Ms Shelvey’s death comes a year after Frances Andrade, a woman who was abused by her teacher while at school, took her life after giving evidence against her abuser at Manchester Crown Court.
Mr Lloyd said police needed to work with agencies such as mental health teams and psychological counselling to ensure witnesses get the support needed.
He added: “I want to stress this isn’t about finding scapegoats. This is about support for vulnerable people, not assigning blame to agencies.”
Mr Lloyd has written to the Theresa May, home secretary, and Chris Grayling, justice secretary, to demand a review.