Our first campaign aims to provide all primary and secondary school children with mandatory education on consent. With the implementation of compulsory sex education in all UK primary and secondary schools in 2020 we are calling on the government to include consent education as part of the national curriculum for children in all primary and secondary schools in order to reduce sexual assault and harassment.
Read more about consent here: https://thegeminiprojectorg.wordpress.com/2018/09/15/what-is-consent/
Our Second campaign aims to increase victim support and improve the justice system. This campaign focuses on demanding a victims law which the government have continuously promised but failed to deliver on despite stating that protecting survivors of sexual violence and supporting victims was a key priority.
As part of this campaign our main demands are as follows:
- Address funding issues in regard to support services
- Commit to allowing all victims to use Victim Personal Statements whereby they can directly address the ways in which they have been affected by the crime.
- The implementation of a victims law which would see the justice system become more victim-centred
- Increased communication between the police and victims. This would include a DC acting as a single point of contact and giving the victim regular updates as to the progress of their case.
- Protecting victims from certain lines of questioning and extensive cross-examination
- Stopping invasions of privacy into the victims phones, personal records and social media
- Preventing the defence from commenting on the victims mental health or using it in any way to form a defence that is not relevant to the circumstances of the case
- A right for cases to be reviewed if charges aren’t brought
- A commitment to introducing advocate services for all victims
- The guarantee of support throughout the case as well as after court proceedings
- Compulsory referrals to counselling services
- Simplify the Victim Contact Scheme
- Increased responsibility for Police and Crime Commissioners monitoring and delivery of services and for their accountability if they fail to provide appropriate levels of care.
- Implement mandatory reporting for child sexual abuse
- The creation of a Victims’ Panel to represent the voice of victims in government policy making.
- To allow for independent universal credit applications and single payments
- Creating new offences to protect more victims and bring offenders to justice including: revenge porn, coercive or controlling behaviour, and sexual communication with a child.
- To make it illegal for perpetrators to use non-disclosure agreements or injunctions against their victims. Victims should be able to speak out about their experiences and should not be forced into silence by their abuser.
- Juries to be educated and informed on trauma responses so that they do not perpetuate societal myths about sexual violence and for all prosecutors, defense teams and judge’s to undergo mandatory training if representing/ judging a sexual violence case
Read more about our thoughts on the government’s victims strategy and the victims law here: https://thegeminiprojectorg.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/our-thoughts-on-the-governments-victims-strategy/
Our third campaign is to reform the language used by the media when reporting on cases of sexual violence.
The media has an obligation to report factual and unbiased information to members of the public. At present their reporting methods feed into and create societal myths. We are calling on the media to change the way they report cases of sexual violence.
We are asking the media to:
- Stop using the term ‘sex with a child/ minor/ underage person/’ when the victim is under the age of consent. A person under the age of consent is unable to consent to sex and therefore it cannot be sex, it is only ever rape and should be labelled as such. It is not right to diminish the severity of an incident with language.
- Stop using the term ‘non-consensual sex’- it is rape, label it as such. Tip toeing around using the word ‘rape’ and ‘rapist’ is unhelpful and feeds into the myth that only monsters are rapists.
- To include statistics when reporting false allegations to outline the rarity of this phenomenon
- Refrain from using information that is not relevant to the incident being reported on. For example: make the focus on what happened, not the character of the victim or perpetrator.
- Never try to justify or explain the reasoning for a persons actions in cases of sexual violence. Refrain from speculation of motive
- Report only the facts of what happened, cases of sexual violence do not need dressing up into narratives for click bait articles.
- To work with specialists when reporting on sexual violence cases to ensure that myths are not perpetuated.
- If the victim is not anonymous refrain from any invasions of privacy, they have already been violated and do not deserve to have their private life trawled through for the sake of an article.
Our fourth campaign is to extend the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 to protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and child sexual abuse who ‘blow the whistle’ on their perpetrator’s actions regardless of the relationship of the abuser to the victim. Currently this law only protects employees ‘blowing the whistle’ on an employer but we believe in cases of serious abuse it is in the public interest to be aware of serious crime and wrongdoing (s.4 of the 2013 Defamation Act), particularly for the future protection and safeguarding of others.
In 2017 the #MeToo movement saw thousands of people speak out about interpersonal abuse they had experienced. in 2020 we are now seeing another wave of brave survivors coming forward to tell their stories and in some cases name their abusers. When survivors speak out, they are exercising their rights under Article 8 (right to respect for family and private life) and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Despite this many survivor’s face threats of civil litigation from their abuser.
The matter of public interest is the right of victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and child sexual abuse, who have either reported to police and been told there is insufficient evidence to enable a charging decision or been dissuaded directly or indirectly to report due to the current low conviction rates in the UK or for other valid reasons. To speak out openly on social media about their experience, including where appropriate identifying the person they have accused.
The objectives of speaking out, which are an aspect of this public interest, include (i) helping to end the stigma of being treated as a “victim” of sexual violence, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse, which is compounded by survivors being expected to remain silent, (ii) thereby also helping survivors to recover, and others to come forward (iii) as well as warning other individuals about the alleged perpetrator. It is becoming common practice for perpetrators of sex crimes to send their victims and public supporters of their victims who have publicly spoken out cease and desists. Serving them with civil litigation for reasons such as misuse of private information, harassment, libel, defamation or whatever else they can to protect their reputations.
We are calling for an end to this practice, particularly as the current prosecution rate for reported sex crimes is at a low of 1.4%, making it even easier for perpetrators to sue their victims. Perpetrators forfeit their right to privacy when they commit sex crimes and it is in the public interest to be aware of their wrongdoing due to the seriousness of the crime. We desperately need protections in common law for victims of serious interpersonal abuse. Especially as civil litigation can often be a tool to further exacerbate and extend the initial trauma the victim has been subjected to.
We strongly believe that the human rights of survivor’s outweigh that of their abusers due to high public interest as opposed to keeping allegations private. Furthermore, an abuser forfeits their rights to protection from defamation when they abuse. We believe crimes of this nature have a higher public interest threshold than they do an individual’s right to protect their reputation.
We support the RMT guard guarantee to keep the guard on the train. Read more about their campaign here: https://www.rmt.org.uk/campaigns/rail/keep-your-guard-guarantee-northern-rail/
We support the organisation Justice for Gaia, their work and their campaign. Read more about Justice for Gaia here: https://justiceforgaia.com/about/