Rape conviction rates in the UK are at the lowest levels since records began

Women’s groups including The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) are highlighting the news yesterday that rape conviction rates by the CPS in the UK are the lowest they have been since records began.

Despite a huge rise in reports of rape in recent years the CPS is showing a reduction in the number of convicted rape cases overall. The CPS decisions to prosecute on rape have fallen by over 51% in 5 years. There has been a drop of 37.7% of rape cases charged by the CPS last year (this includes a drop from 2,822 in 2017/8 to 1,758 in 2018/9).

The CPS have blamed falling police referrals but the CPS decisions to not prosecute are almost double the rate of the police referrals to the CPS -51% compared to -27%. As a response to this EVAW has sent a detailed letter threatening legal action against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in June this year, indicating the CPS is essentially changing its policy and practice in relation to rape cases and a dramatic fall in rape cases being charged has been the result.

Harriet Wistrich, Director of Centre for Women’s Justice commented

‘The CPS have repeatedly denied that they have changed their approach to the prosecution of rape. They have variously blamed the fall in the number of cases prosecuted on the delays caused by disclosure demand post the Liam Allen case, and on the police for failure to progress and refer cases. However, we have gathered evidence from a variety of significant sources which taken together provide a compelling picture that the primary cause of this collapse in prosecutions emanates from a deliberate change in the approach taken by the CPS dating back to late 2016.’

You can read more about conviction rates here

and in a Guardian article here

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