Sarah Champion, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, called on the Government to introduce a statutory right to paid time off work for victims who are attending court as a witness during Justice Oral Questions on Tuesday 12 March.
The APPG’s inquiry into survivors’ experiences of the criminal justice system heard how employers can be an obstacle to attending court in pursuit of justice. Survivors reported being financially penalised for attending court as a witness by being forced to take holiday or unpaid leave.
The Rotherham MP told the Minister:
“Adult survivors of child abuse often wait decades to see their abuser face justice.
Whilst survivors are often key witnesses, they have no statutory right to paid leave.
I have met many survivors who are forced to take unpaid or holiday leave to attend court, but without their attendance, there is no case.
Once again, victims are penalised for the abuse they suffered. Will the Minister agree to review this and ensure pursuing justice does not come [at] a financial loss?”
Minister Edward Argar praised Sarah Champion for her work on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse and agreed to meet her to discuss the matter further.