In a press release, the government announced that it will be amending its upcoming Victims Bill to clarify that children who are born of rape will be recognised as victims so that they will receive full support from groups such as the police and the courts.
Such steps are considered necessary, as the Centre for Women’s Justice has found that due to the distressing circumstances of their birth, serious and long-term harm is a serious risk for these children. The group had urged the government to introduce this law as part of their Victims Bill under the title of ‘Daisy’s Law’, named after a campaigner who was herself born from rape. The press release indicates the Justice Select Committee recommended the change when they reviewed the draft bill in September 2022.
The press release claims the voices of victims will be put at the heart of the justice system, making it easier for them to access therapy and counselling sessions where they can deconstruct self-blame and shame, and come to term with family issues. This is particularly important as evidence suggests that the existence of the child reminds mothers of the rapist, especially when the child is male.
Between 2,080 and 3,356 children could have been conceived in rape within a single year from January 2021 to December 2021 and nearly 85% of children born of rape were reported by their mothers to display unusual/concerning behaviours, shows the evidence review.
The government has committed to quadrupling funding for victim support services by 2025 from 2010, and they claim that they are unaware of any other country that is bringing forward a change such as this and placing it in law.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said that ‘No child born in these horrific circumstances should be left alone…our Victims Bill will amplify their voices and boost support for all victims at every stage of the justice system’.