Podcast – 5 Minutes On – Betrayed By My Therapy Notes


After Annie reported being raped to the police in 2018, all she wanted to do was talk to someone about it. She wanted to get therapy. But at the time there was a catch, and Annie was told that she couldn’t discuss the alleged incident with her therapist for fear that the subsequent notes could jeopardise the case – or be used in court. Back then, guidance said therapy notes could be disclosed to a criminal investigation if there was reason to believe it could undermine the prosecution or support the defence.

At the end of May, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) updated their guidance to say therapy notes could now be accessed by the courts if simply deemed “relevant”. It also encouraged victims to not delay seeking any therapy that they may need. But a group of organisations’ representing counsellors have written a letter to the CPS warning its new guidance could actually pose a risk to public health. They say it’ll cause a rise in rape survivors’ private therapy notes being accessed by the courts – which could damage vital trust and mean victims can’t get the effective therapy they need.

For 5 Minutes On, Newsnight’s Hannah Price has been looking into what impact this new guidance could have.

Listen to the podcast here.

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