The Crown Prosecution Services figures released today demonstrate that there is still a lot of work to be done in improving the experience of victims and survivors during their criminal justice journey. Although we have seen some recovery from the impact of the pandemic, there is simply not enough improvement. There needs to be a far more radical approach to increasing rape charges, as charges remain unacceptably low, and still very far away from the Government’s ambition of reaching 2016 levels.
Of particular concern to us is the increasing length of time taken by the CPS to make a charging decision, which has now risen to 170.2 days. For victims and survivors to wait for so long just to hear whether their perpetrator will be charged is extremely difficult and will have a detrimental effect on not only their wellbeing but their ability to engage with the criminal justice process. The time scales for rape cases will discourage victims and survivors from seeking justice: this must change.
The CPS are making far too many decisions not to charge when there is clearly a case, this is extremely irresponsible and denies victims and survivors their day in court. We need to see stronger case-building that focuses on the suspect, a less ‘risk-averse’ approach to charging rape cases and proper consideration given to the experiences of victims and survivors through the court process. Ultimately, these figures show that there are still drastic improvements to be made.