Our members are invited to attend an online Q&A session, on 7 September from 3:30pm to 5pm, hosted by the Law Commission as part of its consultation about guidance on sharing therapy records with legal professionals.

What does this mean?

As part of its review of the law, guidance and practice relating to trial process in prosecutions of sexual offences the Law Commission is inviting BACP members to contribute on specific issues relating to counselling and therapy practice.

This will include questions about:

• Access to personal records by police and prosecution, disclosure of records to the defence, and the admissibility of records at trial access;
• Use of expert evidence to explain behavioural responses to trauma.

This event is part of a wider consultation by the Law Commission considering reforms to help increase general understanding around consent and sexual harm by countering myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. They also want to develop reforms that improve the treatment of complainants and ensure defendants receive a fair trial.

Jo Holmes, our children, young people and families lead, who is focusing on this special interest area said:

"The Law Commission have offered the counselling and psychotherapy workforce a unique opportunity to gather feedback to help guide a consultation resulting in much needed legal reforms for working with victims and survivors of sexual offences.

"As well as a deep dive into greater safeguards around accessing counsellor’s notes there will also be a focus on expert evidence linked to behavioural responses to trauma, amendments to judicial directions about rape myths and reforms around access to independent legal advice. I would encourage members who work in this field to sign up and share their expertise so we can create a collective and powerful voice and be part of this change."

How can I get involved?

As well as inviting written responses to the consultation online (deadline 29 September) the Law Commission is also hosting a live online Q&A session between 3:30pm to 5pm on 7 September.

Full details and how to join the online Q&A event are on the Law Commission’s website. You can also access the consultation paper containing all the proposals and questions.

You can read a summary of the consultation paper, published in May, on the Law Commission’s website. Please note places are limited to 150 and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Registration will automatically end when this limit is reached. Successful sign-ups will receive an email from the Law Commission containing the event link a few days before the event.