Rape cases could get priority in court

Priority for sex-related crimes in courts, special emergency centres and the immediate right to a lawyer: these are the three key changes which will encourage rape victims to report their attackers to the police, according to Sweden's equality ombudsman, Claes Borgström.

Borgström is heading an inquiry into the treatment of the victims of sexual crimes. In a few weeks he is due to present a series of proposals but the newspaper Stockholm City has had a sneak preview and reported on Friday that local emergency centres will make it easier for victims to get access to appropriate care.

Such a centre has recently opened in Stockholm’s Söder hospital.

Following the care, priority in the courts will ensure that the whole legal process is speeded up.

Claes Borgström was commissioned to propose changes which would lead to more rape victims reporting the crime and then seeing the process through to its conclusion.

He wants victims to have access to a lawyer as soon as they are in the emergency centre, rather than waiting until the attack is reported to the police. This will give victims a better idea of whether they should go to the police or not.

“Everyone we have spoken to says this will increase the incentive to report attacks,” said Borgström to Swedish Radio.

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