On January 19, 2023, the Ministry of Justice announced England and Wales are to become the first countries in the world to give legal status to children born from rape as crime victims.
The new legislation will take the form of an amendment to the Victims Bill, ensuring that children born from sexual violence receive support from the criminal justice system.
A recommendation from the Justice Select Committee catalyzed the government’s decision to acknowledge and meet the unique needs of children born from a felony crime.
Victims-survivors are often horrified to discover that in addition to rape, they are also victims of reproductive coercion. According to a report by Dr. Kate Butterby for The Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ), “between 2,080 and 3,356, children could have been conceived in rape” in 2021. The numbers are conservative, as 2 out of 3 victim-survivors do not report rape due to threats, stigma, and the appalling fact that less than 1% of sexual assault reports lead to a conviction.
“No child born in these horrific circumstances should be left to suffer alone,” said Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab MP, “Which is why we must ensure they can access vital support whenever they may need it.”
Since 2010, the government has increased funding to cover the damage caused by men’s sexual violence against women. The new amendment will help children born from rape access mental health support. The new law will apply to children born from rape at any age.
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