Highest ever volume of violence against women offences being prosecuted in England and Wales

25 Jun 2015

This year, more cases are being referred from the police, charged, prosecuted and convicted than ever before. In 2014/15, 107,104 of these crimes were prosecuted, an increase of more than 16,000 from last year (18.3%) and the highest ever in CPS records.

Likewise, the numbers of those convicted rose by over 11,000 (16.9%) to its highest level ever. Child sexual abuse convictions also rose by 19%.

This comes at a time when an increasing number of complex and non-recent cases are being brought through the criminal justice system, and significant work has been undertaken to recognise and tackle the key difficulties which affect these cases. This includes the implementation of a National Rape Action Plan, the publishing of toolkits for prosecutors and advocates on the issues of consent and offender tactics, and guidance for dealing with vulnerable victims. 

Katie Russell, national spokesperson Rape Crisis England and Wales, said:

 “Rape Crisis welcomes the Crown Prosecution Service’s annual Violence Against Women & Girls report.  

It’s clear that some progress has been made towards improving responses to this broad range of devastating crimes. 

At the same time, the report highlights that we still have some distance to travel before all survivors of sexual violence and violence against women and girls receive the justice they want and deserve and that there is no room for complacency.

We particularly welcome the inclusion of ‘non-recent’ offences in this year’s report; this recognition is vital to ensuring the needs and rights of adult survivors of child sexual abuse are met and upheld.”

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions said:

 “This is really good news for the victims of these dreadful crimes and is also testament to the hard work we have done recently to encourage victims to come forward, to work better with the police and ensure specially trained prosecutors bring the right cases to court. Where cases meet the Code for Crown Prosecutors, we will not shy away from taking cases forward, even when they are difficult and complex. 

“There has been an 18% rise in domestic abuse prosecutions, reaching over 90,000, which is in no small part due to increased public awareness in reporting such cases, as well as the dialogue surrounding new laws involving coercion and control which will be introduced later in the financial year. We are responding to these changes quickly, and have published new guidance for prosecutors on handling cases of domestic abuse. 

“Of course, this additional volume of VaWG work brings challenges for prosecutors not only in terms of numbers, but the type of cases we are seeing - prosecutors across England and Wales are telling me that we are seeing more non-recent child sexual abuse cases and more of the particularly complex rape cases coming forward. While there has been a slight drop in the rape conviction rate, we are bringing the right, although often the more difficult, cases to court as they are left to the jury to decide.      

“Anyone who is a victim of these crimes should feel encouraged by this news and confident that they will be believed when reporting these crimes.”

Additional information in the report:

  • There was the highest volume ever of all VAWG police referrals, charged defendants, prosecutions and convictions in 2014/15
  • Over 11,000 more defendants convicted – a 16.9% increase since 2013-14 to 78,773
  • Highest conviction volumes ever of domestic abuse (68,601), rape (2,581), sexual offences (7,591), honour-based violence (129) and child abuse (7,469)
  • Over 10,000 more defendants convicted for domestic abuse, a rise just under 18% from the previous year
  • Highest ever level of defendants convicted for child sexual abuse – a 19% rise
  • Rise of 15% in stalking and harassment prosecutions to over 12,000 and of these, 1,103 prosecutions were commenced under the new stalking offences
  • Rape conviction rate fell to 56.9% although there was a rise in conviction volumes for rape of 9.9%     

Read the full report here.