Rape Crisis responds to HMIC interim report on crime data integrity

1 May 2014

Responding to the HMIC interim report on crime data integrity released today (1st May 2014), Rape Crisis England & Wales spokeswoman Katie Russell said:

“Rape Crisis England & Wales once again welcomes the commitment to transparency and to the meaningful scrutiny of police practice in relation to crime-recording that this inspection and publication of its interim findings reflect. Nonetheless, it is clearly of grave concern that, during its scrutiny of these first 13 police forces, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) has found an emerging theme of serious sexual offences not being recorded.

Even more worrying is the fact that this is by no means the first such finding. Statistics released by HMIC just three months ago (31st January 2014) revealed persistently high levels of ‘no criming’ in relation to rape of both adults and children and wide disparities in police recording and investigation practices between 43 forces. In February 2012, HMIC published its Forging the Links report jointly with Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), which highlighted similar concerns about inadequate and inconsistent police practice. How many more such reports will it take before we see a real and marked improvement in criminal justice for survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence?

Government statistics suggest that just 15% of those who experience sexual violence currently choose to report to the police. Findings such as those published today do nothing to improve survivors’ confidence that they will be believed and their cases adequately investigated if they do want to pursue criminal justice.

Through our 40 years’ experience of providing specialist sexual violence support services to women and girls, Rape Crisis knows that the kind of independent advocacy and support our member Centres offer can make a real difference to survivors’ experience.

Today’s findings again suggest a need for urgent action to tackle sexual violence crime-recording. We hope they will also remind Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and others of the crucial importance of ensuring access to specialist sexual violence services for all survivors through the provision of sustainable funding.”

Survivors of sexual violence can find information about their nearest Rape Crisis services here.