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Rape prosecutions fall further to just 1.4%

18 Oct 2019

Authorities have been accused of effectively 'decriminalising' sexual offences after official statistics show that the proportion of reported rapes prosecuted in England and Wales has fallen to just 1.4 per cent. 

Alleged victims are dropping out of investigations in 40 per cent of cases, following warnings over the impact of blanket demands for mobile phones and medical records.

Another 14 per cent of cases ended because of other 'evidential difficulties', even when the alleged rapist had been identified and the complainant wanted them prosecuted, while suspects were not traced in 9 per cent of reports.

 The figures were released weeks after an alliance of women’s groups including Rape Crisis launched legal action against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over its handling of rape cases.

Katie Russell, national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales said:

"When we consider the significant increase in victims and survivors of rape, sexual abuse and all forms of sexual violence coming forward to report to the police in recent years, this appallingly low rate of prosecution is even more shocking.

At the same time, the vast majority of those subjected to these traumatic crimes, that can have wide-ranging, lifelong impacts, still choose not to report to the police. This means that in practice a tiny fraction of sexual offenders are currently being brought to justice. 

This is a completely unacceptable situation that has gone well beyond urgent. The criminal justice system is failing victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse in a way that would not be tolerated with any other type of serious crime. This should be a national priority."

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