People born of rape now recognised in Victims’ Code in England and Wales

A woman conceived through rape, who has campaigned for a change in the law to recognise people like herself as victims, is celebrating after achieving her goal.

The government has announced that the victims’ bill will extend the definition of a “victim” to include people who are born as a result of rape. It means England and Wales will be among the first in the world to officially confer victim status to children born of rape.

The woman, who can only be referred to as Daisy, hailed Thursday’s announcement by the deputy prime minister and justice minister, Dominic Raab, as “momentous”.

“This is just incredible,” she said. “I’m still waiting for it to sink in. I hope this changes things for others impacted by being born of rape and at the very least will make them feel they are not alone. It was only when I was pursuing justice against my birth father that I realised I was invisible in the criminal justice system.”

The government will now recognise people conceived through rape in the statutory Victims’ Code, which sets out the rights available to all victims who report a criminal offence to the police.

The change in law will entitle individuals who believe that they were born as a result of rape to make a complaint to the police, in their own right – and to receive information and access support in the same way as any other victim of crime.

Daisy tracked down her birth father and pushed for him to be prosecuted for the rape of her birth mother. In August 2021 he was finally convicted of the rape of Daisy’s birth mother at Birmingham crown court.

Daisy, 46, was taken into care days after her birth and was adopted when she was seven months old. She had known since she read her social services files aged 18 that her birth mother was 13 years old when she was born and her birth father was Carvel Bennett, then 28. The files dating back to 1975 state: “The matter was investigated by police but never brought to court.”

Daisy battled with the police and other agencies for almost a decade before Bennett was charged. For much of that time, she encountered reluctance to bring the prosecution because she was told it was her birth mother, not her, who was the victim of the crime in legal terms.

At the time of Bennett’s conviction Daisy said: “I’m a walking crime scene. I wanted justice for my mum and I wanted justice for me. The ramifications of what Bennett chose to do have shaped my entire life. It’s because of that crime that I’m alive. I’m living, breathing proof of a child rape.”

In a statement on Thursday Raab said: “No child born in these horrific circumstances should be left to suffer alone, which is why we must ensure they can access vital support whenever they may need it.

Kate Ellis, Daisy’s legal representative at Centre for Women’s Justice, which supported her campaign, said: “Daisy has led an extraordinary campaign. Motivated by her own experiences, she has set in motion a vital conversation about the hidden harms suffered by children who are born as the result of a sexual crime.

“We hope that this change in the law will not only ensure support for people born of rape who contact the police – but also enable them to play a crucial role in supporting a police investigation.”

Among those who campaigned for the law change is Sammy Woodhouse, who became pregnant with her first son aged 14 after being groomed and raped in Rotherham. Despite being recognised herself as a victim of sexual exploitation, there was no support for her son in dealing with how he had been conceived.

She said: “I’m so pleased to hear today’s news that children born from sexual violence will be seen as victims within our law. This is a campaign myself and others have fought for years.

“I know first-hand how difficult it can be for many of those children not only from my own personal experiences but from the mothers and children, now adults that I have met and spoken to. I have also called on the government to embed extra support, training, therapy and funding to all agencies across the UK.”

Woodhouse waived her anonymity after her abuser, Arshid Hussain, was jailed for 35 years in 2016, and has become a campaigner against sexual exploitation.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.