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'Why I must speak out to stop my rapist being freed'

Dec 04, 2012

from the article by David Barrett in the Telegraph:

After Dr Claire Chung was raped by a stranger at knifepoint, she took two extraordinary and courageous steps.

Firstly, she confronted him face to face after his conviction, as part of a programme known as “restorative justice”. Then she waived her anonymity, speaking of the decision she took to face the man who had attacked her.

Now she is speaking out again, this time to voice her concerns at a parole system which could free Stephen Allen Gale early next year.

Dr Chung, a former GP, has spoken to The Telegraph about her belief that victims are sidelined by the Parole Board, leaving her feeling “as helpless as the original attack”.

….Such is her concern at the parole system that, although reluctant to oppose publicly his release from a sentence she previously described as “short”, she said: “Given the amount of work I have had to do over the last five years I would imagine the offender, who has a long pattern of behaviour to challenge, would need more time.”

However, she has spoken to highlight her concerns over the parole process, which include how:

  • Only the offender can challenge the Parole Board’s decision - the victim cannot;
  • The victim is invited to submit a ‘personal statement’ but the Parole Board does not guarantee it will remain confidential, and may be handed over to the offender;
  • The victim will only be invited to attend the parole board if they have submitted a personal statement;
  • The panel will only allow the victim to attend while their statement is heard - then they must leave and have no right to hear the rest of the evidence;

Her decision to take part in restorative justice - something the Government is keen to encourage - could actually backfire by making it something the criminal can point to as a reason for them to be released.

Read the whole article.

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