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Better protection needed in court for sex crime victims
Vulnerable sex crime victims could get better protection when questioned in court under plans drawn up following the Oxford grooming gang trial.
The Operation Bullfinch case saw six vulnerable young women give evidence against their abusers at the Old Bailey earlier this year.
The witnesses often broke down in tears during questioning by defence barristers and the case led to calls for pre-recorded cross-examinations and barristers to undergo compulsory training.
Now former chief prosecutor Keir Starmer has said he would advise Labour on introducing legislation, should the party win power in 2015, to give greater protection to vulnerable witnesses in court.
Mr Starmer, director of public prosecutions until earlier this year, will also look at making it a legal obligation for the police and prosecutors to keep crime victims informed about the progress of investigations.
He said: "I am delighted to be involved in this crucial piece of work.
"Victims are entitled to have their rights clearly set out and enforced by a victims' law.
"This is a golden opportunity to recast the criminal justice system as a criminal justice service fit for victims.
"But it will only succeed if there is an attitude-shift across criminal justice.
"Those delivering criminal justice have been on the back foot for far too long when it comes to victims' rights."