Tory MP Nigel Evans: Those cleared of sex charges should receive counselling

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Conservative MP Nigel Evans says people who are cleared of sexual offences should be entitled to the same counselling that is offered to crime victims.

In May, Mr Evans, MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, was fully cleared of multiple charges of indecent and sexual assault involving several men and one charge of rape.

The gay MP resigned as deputy speaker in September last year after being charged.

Mr Evans has called for anonymity for rape suspects until they are charged or even convicted to prevent lives from being “wrecked”.

However, critics say such a move would prevent more victims from coming forward.

Mr Evans also believes those accused of sexual allegations need greater supporter.

“There should be some form of counselling for people who go through the trauma of an arrest, after allegations,” he told The Independent.

“There is nothing out there. There is counselling given to other people, and support given to witnesses, but to those who are accused of some of the most heinous crimes, there is absolutely zero.

“Let’s take it to a change in the law – anonymity until charged. If it doesn’t go to charge, well you’ve seen the trauma that it caused for Jim Davidson, Jimmy Tarbuck, and latterly Freddie Starr.”

He added: “I remember the police on the steps of Preston Crown Court speaking after my verdict.

“Let’s say they speak for five minutes: four minutes 50 seconds was all about how right they were on the victims and they had to get more victims coming, and all that sort of stuff, and there was a 10-second sentence when they said, ‘We appreciate that this has had an impact on Evans.’

“That was it: that was their understanding of my pain and trauma, that one sentence.

“As far as I recall, after the Bill Roache case, Bill didn’t even get that.

“You know that there are a lot of people out there who have gone through this trauma, and it does make you stop to think that at this moment somebody may be standing up in a court now, going through the same sort of trauma.

“Nobody can say that it does not have enormous implications.”