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Shelly Stoops very kindly forwarded this lecture given by Baroness Vivien Stern: to the Crown Prosecution Service Annual Lecture on 21st October 2010. Baroness Stern has been a long time advocate for sex workers rights and for justice to sex workers especially those who suffer assault and especailly rape. She speaks very eloquantly of the work done with sex workers, especially street workers to establish trust and confidence in the police.
This is only the third Crown Prosecution Service lecture. The first was given by the then Director of Public Prosecutions, now Lord Macdonald of River Glaven and a most warmly welcomed recent arrival in the House of Lords.
The second, a most admired lecture which I remember well, was given by the current DPP, Keir Starmer. So it is indeed an honour for someone who is not, nor ever has been, nor ever will be a Director of Public Prosecutions, someone who is not even a lawyer, to be standing before you tonight.
I am most grateful to Keir Starmer for asking me to deliver this lecture. The reason he asked me is that just over a year ago I was invited by the Government to carry out a review of how rape complainants are treated by public authorities. That work gave me many new experiences and some insights. It forced me to think more deeply about what we mean by justice. That is what I am going to reflect on this evening.
May I begin by sharing with you some of the experiences and perceptions I had which provide a context for my later remarks. My work in preparing the report brought me into contact with some remarkable people. I met some young women who work to protect street prostitutes from violent assault. Two specialist projects, one in Liverpool and one in Bristol, do this work. The staff go out in pairs and get to know the women working on the street. They carry free condoms and free needles. They also encourage the prostitutes to report to the authorities when they have been attacked, abused and raped by men paying for their services.
It is not an easy thing for women working in street prostitution to report anything to the authorities. But it happens. And a number of men have been convicted for assaulting and raping women working on the streets. In one recent case, according to the BBC report, the prosecution told the court that the defendant would pick up the women and take them to his home. There he had transformed a bedroom into a “torture chamber”. He was convicted. READ REST OF LECTURE HERE: