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Annual Violence Against Women & Girls report from Crown Prosecution Service shows fall in numbers of sexual offences charged, prosecuted & convicted

26 Sep 2018

The 11th annual Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) report published today (26th September 2018) reveals that the number of referrals, prosecutions and convictions for rape cases, and VAWG offences overall, has fallen, despite record numbers of victims and survivors of these crimes now reporting to the police. 

The number of referrals, prosecutions and convictions for rape-flagged cases has fallen, with a 9.1 per cent fall in referrals from the police and a 23.1 per cent fall in the number of suspects charged.

 Overall, the data shows a decrease in the number of VAWG cases. Referrals from the police have dropped by 0.7 per cent, the number of completed prosecutions has reduced by 5.9 per cent and the number of convictions by 4.9 per cent. 

Rape Crisis England & Wales spokesperson Katie Russell said: 

"The data released today indicates a significant reversal of the gradual upward trend in prosecuting rape and sexual offences in recent years, of which the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has previously appeared very proud. 

This shift is both surprising and deeply troubling given that unprecedented and increasing numbers of victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse continue to come forward to seek both criminal justice and specialist services. 

In the same period (to 31st March 2018), our members' specialist Rape Crisis services were accessed by 78,461 individuals - an increase of 17% from 2016-17 - and Rape Crisis Centres provided over 650,000 sessions of support work, including specialist advocacy and counselling, an increase of 44% since the previous year. 

As victims and survivors continue to be encouraged and celebrated for speaking out by both society and public institutions, it's clear criminal justice outcomes are not only failing to keep pace but diminishing. 

The CPS must properly explain the reasons behind these falling figures and set out their strategy for improving criminal justice around sexual violence as a matter of urgency."