Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 13:00 to 14:00
Boardroom, Level 2, Law Building, UNSW Kensington


Co-hosted with the School of Law, University of Wollongong.


Associate Professor Anna Carline, School of Law, University of Leicester


Associate Professor Julia Quilter, School of Law, University of Wollongong


Successive governments in England and Wales have implemented a plethora of substantive and procedural reforms, reviews and policy documents, all aiming to improve the criminal justice system’s response to rape. Effective rape legislation can increase access to justice, act as a deterrent and reduce future sexual offences. However, research indicates that reforms and policies have not always positively influenced practice. Drawing upon two empirical studies with barristers, this paper will explore practitioners’ perspectives on the development and implementation of policies and reforms. In so doing, the aim is to explore the extent to which relevant provisions and measures are supported by barristers, applied in practice and have been effective in their stated aim of improving the prosecution of rape cases. Accordingly, the paper explores not only the manner in which measures are utilized by barristers, but also the (sometimes) reciprocal and complex relationship between policy development and everyday practice. Related to this, the research highlights the complexities of preconceived ideas about rape and the nuanced way in which such assumptions influence policy makers, barristers and ultimately the response of the justice system.


Dr Anna Carline is an Associate Law Professor at the University of Leicester, UK. Her key areas of research are criminal law and justice, sexual offences, violence against women and gender/feminist theory. Anna’s research is socio-legal and interdisciplinary and examines legal developments by drawing upon a range of empirical, theoretical and policy-based methodologies. She has engaged in extensive research with practitioners and other parties to explore the criminal justice responses to offences of a sexual nature. Other recent and relevant projects include Ministry of Justice funded research into the impact and implementation of the sentencing guidance for sexual offences.

Anna has also been involved in the creation and implementation of an innovative ‘artful intervention’ to combat and challenge myths and misconceptions regarding sexual violence. Please see for further information.