Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner has called for a "root and branch" review after a woman fall to her death, days after a man she had accused of raping her was acquitted.
Tracy Shelvey died after falling from the roof of a car park in Rochdale on Monday morning.
Now, Tony Lloyd has called for a review into how vulberable people are treated, and questioned the process of giving evidence in court.
In a statement Mr Lloyd said:
“Tracy Shelvey’s death is absolutely tragic and our thoughts have to be with her family and friends at this terrible time.
“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. “A chain of vulnerability exists from the moment someone reports an incident to police – and it can break at any point. We need to ensure that victims and witnesses are surrounded by support from when they report to police, throughout the investigation, the court process and – critically – after trial is over, whether the accused is found guilty or innocent.
“We need to ensure the right services are engaged, be they mental health or psychological counselling. And we all need to work much better together to ensure that victims and witnesses get the support they need, when they need it.”
“The IPCC investigation is welcome, but they can only look at the police conduct when we need a review that goes much wider and deeper than police actions. This is about the entire system. “I want to stress this isn’t about finding scapegoats. This is about support for vulnerable people, not assigning blame to agencies.”
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