Section 41: an evaluation of new legislation limiting sexual history evidence in rape trials rds2006

This report presents the findings of research commissioned in 2002 to examine the operation and impact of section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which was intended to control the introduction of evidence about the complainant’s previous sexual behaviour in sex offence trials.

The research tracked nearly 240 rape cases coming before the Crown Courts in England and Wales in 2003. The researchers also looked at 170 Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) rape case files, observed over 30 rape trials, examined Home Office statistical data and analysed recent reported Court of Appeal decisions. They also interviewed judges, barristers, CPS lawyers, complainants, police officers and those involved with supporting victims.