The British state’s mechanism for compensating victim-survivors of sexual offences has been critiqued as retraumatising. However, a recent review preliminarily rejected calls to loosen the eligibility rules, stating that the current criteria reflect public attitudes. This article outlines the first empirical study of public opinion on the UK Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS), drawing on data from over 2,000 survey participants. The findings show ambivalence among members of the public, but also reveal the current rules are not strongly supported and are in some cases highly unpopular. The article then examines some difficulties with relying on public opinion for criminal justice reform, and ultimately argues that there are stronger justifications for reforming the CICS than popularity with the public. Specifically, loosening the eligibility criteria would create more legitimate policy through the protection of core societal values such as fairness and dignity.
This commentary responds to claims that research by Cheryl Thomas ‘shows’ no problem with rape myths in English and Welsh juries. We critique the claim on the basis of ambiguous survey design, a false distinction between ‘real’ jurors and other research participants, the conflation of attitudes in relation to abstract versus applied rape myths, and misleading interpretation of the data. Ultimately, we call for a balanced appraisal of individual studies by contextualising them against the wider literature.