Victims of sexual assault given more protection in Guernsey

Guernsey States.
It follows a debate in the States where politicians voted through a change in the law. Credit: ITV Channel TV.

Victims of sexual assault will be given greater protection in Guernsey.

Politicians have today (Wednesday 16 February) voted through changes to the Bailiwick's legislation, after campaigners fought to have it updated.

Back in 2020, the States agreed to overhaul Guernsey's Sexual Offences Law and the changes were due to be rubber stamped today.

It will now be easier for victims of sexual abuse to prove they could not have given consent if they had taken drugs or alcohol.

Last week Deputy Carl Meerveld lodged an amendment calling for a review into the changes, saying they went too far and would alter the burden of proof.

However, his amendment failed with 9 deputies voting in favour and 24 against.

The new Sexual Offences Law has been long-awaited and is a result of a policy letter published back in 2011.

Deputy Gavin St Pier - who has passionately spoken about his own experiences - said there is an urgent need to remove victim blaming. The law will also mean perpetrators can be prosecuted for crimes including upskirting, grooming and revenge porn. It is expected to come into force at the start of March.