“Being Shut Out in the Dark”:Young Survivors' Experiences of Reporting a Sexual Offence
AbstractIn Britain in the past 25 years there have been substantial changes in police responses to survivors of rape and sexual assault. Little is known about the impact of these changes on young survivors. In this article, the authors draw on interviews with nine youth aged 14 to 16 who reported a sexual offense to one police service in England. They discuss the degree of choice that young people get from the point of making the decision to report to the police through to the finalization of the case. Findings indicate that victims had limited choice at each stage of the criminal justice process. This is an outcome of a criminal justice system that continues to prioritize professional power over victims' needs and rights. The authors conclude by asserting the need for victims to be given the opportunity to participate actively in criminal justice processes.