It was good to receive reassurance from the Rt Hon. Kit Malthouse, Minister for Crime and Policing, on the Government's commitment to support vulnerable victims during an Urgent Question this week.
I commend the Government for the work that has already been put in hand to improve support for rape complainants. Will my hon. Friend give an update on when the new 2017 guidance on achieving best evidence—ABE—will be published and set out how the use of recorded pre-trial evidence and the specialist input of the Criminal Bar Association are informing the Government’s next steps?
I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s constructive question. He is right; we do think that the use of section 28, as it is called—giving recorded evidence—will have a role to play. As he will know, we have rolled it out for vulnerable victims across all Crown courts, and we now have a number of pathfinder courts—in Liverpool and, I think, Leeds—where we are using it in cases of intimidated witnesses, not least in cases of rape and sexual violence. As for the guidance that he points towards, that is a police-owned document, and I know that they are collaborating closely with the CPS and the Criminal Bar Association to get it right. We stand ready to help them with publication once their work is finished.