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Work With Offenders looks behind the decline in prosecutions with only three out of every 200 accused ending up in court.

Stuttering stats: Only 1.5 per cent of rapes reported to the police result in the alleged perpetrator being charged or summonsed

Stuttering stats: Only 1.5 per cent of rapes reported to the police result in the alleged perpetrator being charged or summonsed

Date - 4th August 2019
By - Russell Webster - Work With Offenders

 

Analysis of the latest official Home Office statistics on crime outcomes for the year ending March 2019 has revealed a shocking decline in the number of rape prosecutions in England and Wales over recent years.

Only 1.5 per cent of rapes reported to the police result in the alleged perpetrator being charged or summonsed. That is a quite staggering figure . . . only three out of every 200 people accused of rape are even taken to court.

The same Home Office statistics for five years ago – to the year ending March 2014 – do not give a separate figure for rape show that but 23.7 per cent of people accused of all sexual offences were charged or summonsed.

This compares with just 3.5 per cent of those reported to have committed a sexual offence in the last year.

The stark conclusion to be drawn from these figures is that anyone committing a sexual offence now is almost seven times more likely to get away with it than they were just five years ago.

This drop is even more dramatic since the number of rapes being reported has actually increased markedly over recent years and is likely to continue to do so in the wake of the #MeToo movement. In the four years from 2015 to 2019, the number of rape claims dealt with by police in England and Wales rose by 61 per cent – from 35,847 to 57,882.

The official statistics show that a very high proportion of rape cases were closed because of evidential difficulties which reflect the challenges associated with investigating these crimes; typically lack of evidence and/or support of the victim for a prosecution.

However, while these figures might reasonably have been taken into consideration when the rate of prosecution was almost one quarter five years ago, they certainly do not in any way explain the incredible drop since that time.

It is very hard to account for this worrying trend given the growing society-wide disapproval of all crimes of sexual violence.

No doubt the reasons are complex, but it is hard not to speculate that the substantial drop in police numbers is the main factor. Between March 2010 and March 2018, police forces in England Wales lost 21,732 officers, a drop of 15 per cent (official Home Office figures).

Other contributory factors seem to be confusion and an ongoing dispute over the disclosure of evidence, particularly digital evidence from mobile phones and social media networks; allegations of changes in policy and delays in the waiting time between a defendant pleading not guilty in Magistrates’ Court and the actual Crown Court trial which has now reached seven months for sexual offences.

Victims are more likely to withdraw from proceedings if they have to cope with the ongoing trauma of a very slow-moving court case. Inevitably, a victim’s evidence is likely to be critical in most rape trials.

The Home Office has already instituted an end-to-end review of rape cases to try to establish why the system is failing so badly and we must hope that new Home Secretary Priti Patel makes this a key priority.

We must also hope that if Boris Johnson makes good on his pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers over the next three years, these increase resources resulted in a rapid reversal of the current trend.

In 2019, it is reasonable for us all to expect a larger proportion of rape cases to be prosecuted as opposed to the current situation where the criminal justice system seems almost to be facilitating the commissioning of this most heinous offence.

View On Police Oracle

 
 

 

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Whist many things can quiet rightly be blamed on austerity or a drop in police numbers, I am not sure that the 61% increase in rape allegations and significant drop in the conviction rate is one of them. The issues around it are far more complex and this is one area of policing where chucking Officers are the problem will not resolve the problem.

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I suppose they have considered the fact that not unlike the female in Cyprus, some accusations might be, well, spurious?

Or after due investigation that the accused are in fact, innocent?

Or are they expecting a dramatic increase in convictions at the expense of the innocent part, just to show that, well, action is being taken?

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An increase is rape claims of 61% in 4 years (2015-1019) is extraordinary.

Are the same men committing 61% more rapes or are there 61% more individual rapists than there were?

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On this occasion I would put it down to ‘better’ recording. Though I use the word better loosely. That and DASH questions being asked properly.

The knock on affect is most offenders are ex/partners and the rapes are historic which makes prosecution almost impossible. It really does come down to one word against another and the public who make up juries can’t understand why you would stay with someone who raped you.

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One thing which always surprises and annoys me is that there is across the board acceptance in the media and from charities, that when someone says they have been raped it means that they have raped.  No one ever pushes back and points out how much of our case load is made up of allegations which stem from 'regrettable sex' or when people make off the cuff allegations which still require investigation but which lead no where.  I'm not for one moment minimising what is an awful offence when it does take place but there is an attitude among some people which allows them to make false or exaggerated allegations. 

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There are also alot of circumstances which might amount to other sexual offenses which may not amount to rape although initially recorded as such.

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On 06/08/2019 at 20:52, SD said:

On this occasion I would put it down to ‘better’ recording. Though I use the word better loosely. That and DASH questions being asked properly.

The knock on affect is most offenders are ex/partners and the rapes are historic which makes prosecution almost impossible. It really does come down to one word against another and the public who make up juries can’t understand why you would stay with someone who raped you.

The DASH is a major contributor in my experience.  When a victim says they consented to sex but didn't really feel like it (which for the avoidance of any doubt is NOT an offence of rape or any other sexual offence in law) a rape offence is often recorded incorrectly.  So the police are recording a crime that had no possibility in law of being committed and with no chance of even charging someone let alone getting a conviction, no wonder the conviction rate is so low.

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The #metoo movement have a great deal of responsibility. Rape is one of the easiest allegations to make and, likewise, is one of the hardest to prove and also the hardest to disprove, if that makes any sense. When an allegation of rape is made then the whole circus is thrown into the investigation. Because of that intensity, in many case, it becomes obvious that the complaint is spurious, many times completely false, and the evidence proves the offence was committed on a few occasions. \many times the investigation proves that the act was fully consensual but with after thoughts and a guilty conscience. Finance and manpower is not even something that comes into the equation. Other offence may suffer from lack of a thorough investigation because an allegation of rape is taking priority.

 

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