SARAH Champion urged the attorney general to rethink “appalling changes” to rape therapy guidance — citing a Rotherham survivor’s experience.
The Rotherham MP called on Suella Braverman to reconsider a decision to allow counselling session notes to be disclosed to lawyers defending rape suspects.
Ms Champion fears the change could result in victims of sex abuse and rape not seeking therapy before their cases come to trial.
The MP said: “No-one should have to choose between getting the support they need or putting their abuser behind bars, but sadly this is already the reality for many victims and survivors of sexual violence.
“Over the past year, I have been working with a Rotherham child abuse survivor to highlight in parliament her horrendous experience of being too afraid to have counselling while seeking justice.
“Together we urged the Government to better protect victims’ mental health during court proceedings.
“I’m furious that the attorney general’s proposals will do the opposite of what we have been calling for.”
The survivor, whose case was cited by Ms Champion, said: “After I completed my video evidence, the officers told me it would complicate the trial if I sought any mental health support, and to wait until it was over.
“That took 18 months, 18 of the most difficult months, when I was emotionally abused and outcast by my family for reporting the abuse.
“I had nowhere to turn, needed to see a psychologist for support and I was utterly traumatised.
“The fear of past or ongoing counselling notes being shared with the courtroom is so overwhelmingly terrifying it is enough to put someone off seeking help, even if they were not directed against it by the police, as I was.”
Ms Champion raised the matter during Prime Minister’s Questions last Wednesday. Boris Johnson responded: “I will look at the evidence that she has. These are very sensitive and very difficult issues particularly with regard to defence cases.”