Legal changes mean that police can demand victims of crime, including rape survivors, must now hand over their phones. Failure to do so could prevent prosecutions from going ahead. This new law has dangerous and worrying implications. Because it implies a sense of guilt for some survivors of violent crime.
From 29 April, police in England and Wales will issue digital consent forms. These ask for “permission to access information including emails, messages and photographs”. As a result, people reporting violent crimes can be asked to hand over phones and other devices. Although these consent forms potentially support a range of criminal investigations, they’re particularly concerning for rape and sexual assault survivors.
People can refuse to give consent. But if they do so, the form states: