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Reading the death of Mrs A : a serious case review

Cummins, ID; Foley, M

Reading the death of Mrs A : a serious case review Thumbnail


M Foley


Purpose – The purpose is to report the main themes identified into the SCR produced by
Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) regarding the suicide of Mrs A in January
Design –A case study approach is used to examine the SCR. The article links the findings
of the SCR with the broader literature, which has examined the experiences of witnesses
and complainants in cases of sexual violence.
Findings – The report emphasises that support for witnesses in historic? sexual assault
cases has improved but there are still significant gaps in provision. In particular, the
systems need to support witnesses for longer after giving evidence. Mental health
services need to be more aware of the potential impact of Court cases on victims of
sexual violence. The case also highlights the potentially devastating impact of the media
reporting of evidence given by victims in rape cases.
Implications – The authors hope that a wider consideration of the circumstances of this
case will lead to a greater focus on the needs of victims in cases of historic rape and
other sexual assault cases. The SCR highlights that the provision of support for women
giving evidence in sexual abuse cases is patchy. Such cases raise very serious ethical
issues including the question of how to use the special measures that exist to support
vulnerable or intimidated witnesses.
Originality /value – The paper brings together a number of themes in the wider
literature and links them to current practice. It also uses a case study approach to
exploring the implications for women, in cases of historical sexual abuse, of giving
evidence in Court proceedings.


Cummins, I., & Foley, M. (2015). Reading the death of Mrs A : a serious case review. Journal of Adult Protection, 17(5), 321-330.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 14, 2015
Publication Date Oct 1, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2016
Journal Journal of Adult Protection
Print ISSN 1466-8203
Electronic ISSN 2042-8669
Publisher Emerald
Volume 17
Issue 5
Pages 321-330
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs


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