It’s 2023, and almost everyone living in the UK will have heard of AI (artificial intelligence) and how it is being used to help children with learning difficulties, help doctors with diagnostics, and even help estate agents with property valuations.
Of course, the world of law is not immune to these changes, and many legal teams who are trained in sexual offence are now using AI to help them look into the mountains of evidence that comes with such cases, as well as to detect inconsistencies in eyewitness testimonies.
In this article, you will be guided through the specific ways that a sexual offence solicitor may use AI to help your case, so read on!
If you’ve ever watched a crime show, you will know that CCTV footage is the gold standard of evidence.
So, how can AI help with this already pretty important bit of evidence? Well, with analysis. If you have ever spoken to a sexual offence defence or prosecution team about reviewing CCTV footage, they will tell you that another person (usually a security guard) has to go through hours of footage and then send them a condensed copy of the segments that are important to their case. Otherwise, it would just be hours and hours of blank screens or watching people going about that aren’t related to the case.
AI can help to speed this up and take out the middleman, so to speak. AI machines can review CCTV footage in seconds and analyse emails, text messages, Facebook posts, as well as images to look for evidence that could be used by a sexual offence legal team. It does this quickly and effectively, meaning that the processing time for digital evidence is a fraction of what it once was.
Have you ever heard the saying that the perpetrator always returns to the scene of the crime?
Well, there is some truth in that; criminals often exhibit patterns of behaviour, which can result in cases that may not be linked at first glance eventually being linked together. And while this is common in movies, the police force in the UK simply doesn’t have the time or the staff. Luckily, AI can look for similarities in sexual offence cases and will help a sexual offence prosecution team make sense of these links.
OK, so everyone has heard in the news of someone being released from jail as they are no longer deemed a threat.
AI models are currently being used to assess the risk of sexual offences and predict recidivism rates among those who have already offended, thus allowing courts to make more insightful assessments. By analysing various factors such as offender profiles, previous convictions, and social indicators, AI can provide insights to inform decision-making processes, such as determining appropriate sentencing or parole conditions.
There is a saying that nothing develops in a vacuum, especially when it comes to human behaviour. So, you guessed it, AI is being used to assess more than fake news on social media. It can be used to look for potential signs of grooming, illegal content sharing, or suspicious activities related to sexual offences. This can help authorities identify people who are potentially at threat of committing sexual offences and intervening before they do. This is a preventive measure during which a person who is at a high risk of committing a sexual offence can be offered psychological help before they overstep the legal mark.
Also, by using machine learning algorithms, AI systems can help identify and report such activities to law enforcement agencies, enabling timely intervention and prevention of harm.
Victim support and counselling
Of course, AI isn’t all about detection and prevention. In the event that someone has been sexually assaulted, AI can help them too.
AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants can provide the initial support and information to victims of sexual offences and can offer advice on what the person should do next as, let’s face it, following a sexual assault, you don’t really know what to do. The AI systems can offer a safe and confidential space for victims to seek guidance, access resources, and understand their rights, ensuring support is available even outside regular office hours. This means that victims will feel supported and cared for, which will help them to feel more in control of the situation and able to speak up about what happened.
So, there you have it. AI is here to stay, and it is helping in ways most people have never considered. In the case of sexual offences, it is speeding up the processing time, helping victims and prosecutors to make the world a safer place.