Application of Section 41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999: A Survey of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs)
LimeCulture conducted a survey of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) and asked them about the court cases that they have attended over a two-year period – April 2015 – April 2017 – the findings have shown that Section 41 of the Youth Justice Crime and Evidence Act 1999 is not alway being applied in line with Government guidelines.
Section 41 was introduced in 1999 to protect victims from unfair questioning about their previous sexual history during court proceedings.
The findings outlined in this report show that complainants are not always consistently informed about the intention to question them about their sexual history, which could also mean there is no opportunity for the prosecution to challenge this, or to take instructions, or to call witnesses to challenge the facts of the sexual history being discussed. As victims of sexual crime do not have access to independent legal representation, it is up to the judge or prosecution to ensure Section 41 is upheld correctly. It is clear this not happening in all cases.