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We’ve helped to develop new guidance for police forces to improve investigations of rape and sexual offences.

The new Rape Victim Impact Assessment (RVIA) is based on research by Professor Clare McGlynn, in Durham Law School, and colleagues at the University of Glasgow.

Victims’ rights

The RVIA - published as part of the UK Government’s Home Office Rape Review - is designed to put victims, their rights and interests at the heart of the criminal justice system. 

It aims to improve services to victims by providing a clear process to support police officers and staff to systematically review how policies and procedures could impact victims.

It follows similar processes such as Equality Impact Assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments which are now routine in many sectors.

The RVIA is part of the new National Operating Model (NOM) for the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences for police forces in England and Wales.

Professor McGlynn and her Glasgow colleagues will continue to work with the police to see how the tool is used and how it can be improved.

Police decision-making

While it was developed specifically in relation to police investigations of rape, the guidance has the potential to be applied across all areas of criminal justice.

It provides greater confidence for individual police officers in knowing that all policies have been designed with the rights and interests of victims of sexual offences in mind, including those from minoritised and marginalised groups. 

The RVIA also gives victims and the public the opportunity to understand police decision-making, with police forces being advised to publish and share their assessments with the local community for transparency and accountability.

Find out more

  • Our Law School is a world leader in legal education. We are ranked 6th in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2024 and 7th in the UK in The Guardian University Guide 2024.Our award-winning academic staff deliver a cutting-edge, research-led curriculum through small-group teaching that is much prized by employers. Our graduates go on to great things and include some of law’s leading figures, for example, current or previous members of the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and Members of Parliament.  Feeling inspired? Visit our Law School webpages to learn more about studying with us. 

  • Durham University is a top 100 world university. In the QS World University Rankings 2024, we were ranked 78th globally.