Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The impact of rape law reform : the application of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976
Author: Adler, Zsuzsanna
ISNI:       0000 0001 3398 6695
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1984
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis considers the implementation of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976, which was passed as a response to the inadequacy of rape law and to public outcry following a number of controversial rape cases and their treatment by the legal system. The main intention of Parliament in passing this Act was to ease the burden of the rape victim in court. It proposed that she should generally be granted anonymity, and that certain safeguards should be adopted with regard to admitting evidence of her sexual history. The legislation also contains a statutory definition of rape and a provision granting anonymity to the defendant before conviction. The legislation is essentially discretionary, and its implementation is up to trial judges who are not given clear guidelines on how the law should be applied. This is of crucial significance particularly as far as evidence of sexual history is concerned. The study reviews existing literature on rape, and goes on to outline the history of the law in England and the background of current legislation. It also describes the research methods used in the present study, together with the main hypotheses. It then considers the practical application of the 1976 Act. It deals with the way in which its section relevant to prior sexual history is implemented, and considers the criteria judges use in interpreting the legislation. It goes on to consider ways in which the complainant's credibility may be discredited with reference to aspects of her sexual behaviour which are not covered by the 1976 Act. It then discusses how far the complainant's overall behaviour continues to be a central focus of rape trials, and to what extent it is effectively her behaviour that determines the jury's verdict. It also considers the impact of the Act on the reporting and disposition of rape offences. Various models of rape law reform and their impact in other jurisdictions are examined. Finally, future rape law reform in this country is discussed, both in the light of the present findings and of recent developments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Law