The use of sexual history and bad character evidence in Scottish sexual offences trials

Research Report

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First published: 18 Aug 2020

Sexual history and bad character evidence report front cover

This report looks at the literature and legal cases on the use of sexual history evidence and personal information in rape and sexual assault trials in Scotland. It also looks at how this affects survivors’ access to justice.

We commissioned Professor Sharon Cowan, from the University of Edinburgh Law School, to carry out this review.

As a result of this research, we have called for an urgent review of how courts and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service respond when survivors of sexual violence have details of their sex lives raised during sexual offences trials.

We have also produced a series of reports that accompany this summary:

  • legislative overview
  • overview of cases
  • literature review

These reports, and the original review submitted to us, are available on request by email:

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