‘A system to keep me safe’: a study of bail use in rape cases

This study explores for the very first time, the impact of bail on survivors of rape; interviewing survivors, Police officers and Rape Crisis workers.

Findings show this is the first time survivors have been asked their view of bail for any reason; legislative, policy or research; that decisions on granting bail and conditions are unmonitored and do not take into account survivor’s needs in any formal sense; that conditional pre-charge bail is vital to trigger wider safeguarding in workplaces, educational institutions and public sector organisations, who apply disciplinary action in line with bail conditions. Gaps are identified in survivor protection which is not automatic, immediate or effective following reporting, which conflicts with the messaging of criminal justice agencies regarding the priority of survivor safety.

The study illustrates that feeling safe and being protected in public spaces, family gatherings, schools, work and home is a ‘manifestation of justice’ (Antonsdóttir, 2017), influencing the support from friends, family and communities.

Recommendations include further research with survivors to establish the extent and locations of safety gaps in the bail process and their implications for criminal and civil justice legislation, policy and practice.

Download the report here.