Data released by the Crown Prosecution Service today shows that the conviction rate for rape cases has reached an all-time high at 63 per cent of all prosecutions. According to the figures, there were 3,692 rape prosecutions last year and 2,333 convictions, up by 5 per cent since 2008.
Data released by the Crown Prosecution Service today shows that the conviction rate for rape cases has reached an all-time high at 63 per cent of cases where someone was either charged with rape or the police flagged up the offence as rape.
According to the figures, there were 3,692 rape prosecutions last year and 2,333 convictions, up by 5 per cent since 2008.
Convictions for domestic violence have also increased by 1 per cent. There were 70,702 prosecutions last year resulting in 52,549 convictions.
Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions, said following the release of the figures that the public could “have confidence that the criminal justice system is getting better and better at prosecuting these offences”.
He added that “if your case is charged there is now a very strong chance that your attacker will be convicted”.
Katie Russel of Rape Crisis, one of the leading anti-rape charities, said the figures were “an indication that the significant efforts of the Crown Prosecution Service and others in recent years are beginning to have positive results”.
However, she added that it was important to remember “that only around 15 per cent of women and girls who are raped or sexually assaulted in this country currently report to the police, and levels of attrition (that is, women dropping out of the criminal justice system between report and court) remain unacceptably high”.
Holly Dustin of the End Violence Against Women Campaign said she welcomed the increase in the number of convictions. She also praised “the priority that the Crown Prosecution Service has given these issues as part of its Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy”.
But she added that it was “critical” to reform the justice system to “ensure specialist support in the community for those who choose not to report rape”. This, she argued, was “still very patchy”. “With government cuts there are real risks to women’s refuge centres around the country,” she added.
Although sexual violence is still a largely unreported and unpunished crime in the UK – there are roughly 470,000 incidents of it every year with only 54,000 recorded by the police – today’s figures are a step in the right direction: more women are reporting incidents of rape and domestic abuse than ever before and more perpetrators of the crime are being convicted and punished.
Of course, more can be done to not only further convictions but to ensure women have access to specialist support within their communities. This, however, is unlikely to come from a government that sees fiscal contraction as its priority.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.
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