Alleged rape victims will no longer face cross-examination live in court under reforms announced today by Elizabeth Truss, the justice secretary and lord chancellor.
From September victims will be able to give evidence in a pre-recorded video that will be played to the jury once the trial begins.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times, Truss revealed that she is bringing forward plans for recorded cross-examination for all adult sexual offences tried in crown courts after three cities used taped evidence in child sex cases.
She said the pilot schemes showed that defendants, when confronted with the strength of the evidence against them before the trial, were more likely to plead guilty early, reducing the trauma for rape victims, speeding up justice and saving money.
Pre-recorded evidence is already being launched nationwide for child sex cases.
The justice secretary also announced a crackdown on paedophiles grooming children on social media with a new offence of “sexual communication with a child”. Those convicted will automatically go on the sex offender register and face up to two years in jail.