A claim that an alleged rape victim could have been identified by a regional daily reporting the date of her holiday has been rejected by the press watchdog.
The woman’s mother complained to IPSO about the Worcester News’s coverage of her daughter giving evidence in the case, in which it reported that the jury heard that she “would not be able to give evidence until Thursday as she was due to go on holiday on Monday.”
The News also stated the alleged victim had given evidence in court without the use of a screen to hide her face, as well as her age at the time of the offences.
Her mother claimed the information, when taken together, could have led to the identification of her daughter, saying that readers would now be able to attend court with the intention of discovering who she was.
Denying breaches of Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 11 (Victims of sexual assault) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, the News responded that the details in the article were not specific enough to identify the alleged victim to anyone except her immediate family, who it said would already have been aware of the case.
The newspaper added that reporting that the woman’s daughter had appeared in court without a screen would only identify her to the people who were present in court, and that they would already have been aware that she was the alleged victim.
In addition, the News said that reporting that the jury heard the holiday date would not identify her to anyone who did not already know that she was the alleged victim, because many teenage girls would have been due to go on holiday in late September.
The publication noted that it had taken steps to avoid an increased possibility of the alleged victim’s identification by not reporting the area where she was from.
IPSO found the details reported by the News were not specific enough to identify, or be likely to lead to the identification of, the woman’s daughter.
The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.