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Annual rape prosecutions fall again

Rape prosecutions have dropped by a quarter in the last year according to official Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures released today (22 July 2021), marking a new record low.

There were half the number of charges in rape cases in 2020-21 that there were in 2015-16.

Charging volume did increase by 4.7% on the previous year, but this despite a more than 28% increase in police referrals of rape cases to the CPS.

Katie Russell, on behalf of Rape Crisis England & Wales said: 

“These latest figures highlight yet again the ongoing devastating failure of the criminal justice system on rape and other sexual offences.

They are further evidence of the urgent need for radical action. We hope they’ll encourage Government to consider again some of the recommendations put forward in our joint Decriminalisation of Rape report with partners in November 2020, too many of which were overlooked by their own Rape Review last month.

Crucially, this data reinforces how imperative it is the CPS in particular be held accountable.”

In its end-to-end Rape Review, published last month, the Government outlined its ambition to return rape charges to their 2016 level. Today's figures show the CPS is a very long way from meeting this target at the current rate of progress.