Reports & Briefings

The Decriminalisation of Rape

30 Nov 2020

The decriminalisation of rape: the justice system is failing survivors of rape and sexual violence and needs to change


55,259 rapes were reported last year, leading to only 2,102 prosecutions and 1,439 convictions.


In this report, Rape Crisis England & Wales, Imkaan, the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), and the Centre for Women's Justice find 'rape myths' throughout the police and courts system.

"Rape and sexual abuse have been effectively decriminalised. Despite the high prevalence of rape and sexual abuse and the increase in reporting in recent years, prosecutions and convictions have dropped to the lowest since records began. Home Office figures suggest that rape complainants now have a 1 in 70 chance that a complaint made to the police will even result in a charge, let alone a conviction. This represents a truly unprecedented crisis in rape prosecutions."

We call for major changes to police and prosecutor work practices, a Special Commission on juries, wraparound victim support, and research on which women don’t report rape and why.