Rape trials to be monitored

The way rape victims are treated by the legal system is under scrutiny Photo:

Panels of volunteers are being recruited to sit in court during rape trials to see how the legal system challenges myths about sexual offences.

Last year, less than two thirds of all rape trials in the North East ended in a conviction, with two forces, Durham and Cleveland, below the national average. And nationally, the conviction rate has fallen over the last year.

The new volunteers will monitor how well victims are treated in court and whether cases are being laid out fairly and based on facts.

Catherine Cunningham went through a difficult trial after she was raped by a former partner. She has waived her right to anonymity.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, Vera Baird, who is setting up the project, spoke to Pam Royle.