Police lights, Etolane, Flickr under Creative Comms,

Police lights, Etolane, Flickr under Creative Comms,

A report by the Rape Monitoring Group, published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, reveals a dramatic fall in the percentage of reported rapes that result in charges in England and Wales. The report also shows increases in the total number of reported rape cases, including rapes of children.

In 2014-2015, just 12% of reported rapes resulted in charges, down sharply from 17% for the previous year. However, the number of reported rapes is increasing. There were 19,316 reported rapes against adults this year compared to 9,856 four years ago. The number of reported rapes against children has also increased, with 9,949 this year compared to 6,035 in 2010-11.

The report also revealed significant regional variation between police forces. Nottinghamshire police only charged 6% of people who were reported for rape of adults whereas Greater Manchester police charged 18% of people reported for rape of adults. In Humberside, 35% of child rape cases resulted in criminal proceedings.

Moreover, the report highlighted the poor conviction rate in rape cases. In 2014, 1,164 people were convicted of rape. That represents just over 30% of those charged with rape and only 4% of those reported for rape.

Speaking to the Justice Gap in response to the report, Rights of Women director Emma Scott criticized ‘poor investigation and negative attitudes to victims’ experiences’ and called for improvements throughout the criminal justice system, observing ‘that women continue to experience disbelief and stereotyping as victims […] from police officers, prosecutors, judges and juries’.

Kate Russell of Rape Crisis commended the increased number of reported rapes as a ‘steady improvement in the way police record sexual offences’, but noted that sexual offences were ‘still hugely under-reported in comparison to other crimes’.

Russell also highlighted the financial challenges facing organizations supporting victims of sexual violence. For example, only half of Rape Crisis’ specialist support and advocacy services are funded beyond March 2016 and Eaves, a charity that provided support to women in crisis, was forced to close at the end of October.

Profile photo of Ollie Persey About Ollie Persey
Ollie Persey is a legal fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, where he works on issues concerning criminal justice, international human rights law, and mental health

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  • Chris November 6, 2015 10:04 am

    Hello Ollie,
    I read your article with particular interest as I spent a few hours yesterday taking a close look at the underlying data used for the Rape Monitoring Group report (I downloaded the 3 data s/sheets the RMG make available). I have a few comments:
    – The digest-reports (one for each police-force) state that the stats cover both male and female rape-victims, but the data does nor provide a breakdown of the split across males and females. It is not correct to assume that all rape-victims are women.
    – Your figure of 12% charge-rate for all reports of rape in 2014/15 is incorrect; that figure applies to adult-victims only. Taking reports of child-rape into account too, the charge-rate is 15.5%
    – You state that in 2014 1,164 people were convicted of rape which represents just over 30% of those charged. These are based on figures taken from the Ministry of Justice s/sheet.
    However, in the CPS s/sheet, it states that for 2014/15, of the 4,536 reports of rape that were taken to court, 2,581 resulted in conviction, a rate of 57%,
    regards, Chris.

  • george November 6, 2015 10:28 am

    There is no recognition of the epidemic of false rape and false violence claims by the feminists.

    When you put pressure on police, courts and cps to prosecute with no questions asked all cases of rape no matter the merit or not what you end up with is an increase in the numbers of prosecutions of victims of false allegations.

    In the family court I see a dramatic increase of false rape allegations of wife against husband. When that happens the wife gets legal aid automatically. Then the drama of screens to prevent the wife seeing the husband and so testifying in absolute comfort.

    Then the father who represents himself is not allowed to ask questions of the mother because he is the alleged perpetrator. So you end up with a farce upon a farce. The mothers false allegations go unchallenged.

    The father then gets removed from his children’s life so that the mother can pursue her life free of the inconvenience of an ex.

    When you feminists stop asking for special laws for women and start instead asking for equality and not female supremacy then I will take up your cause. As you stand now I am against feminism.

    Men have stopped wanting to get married. To get married in the UK is a suckers institution where somewhere along the line you will lose your house, your money and your children. Then your ex can move her new boyfriend into your ex house and you get to maintain her lifestyle.

  • anthony seymour November 9, 2015 1:24 am

    To concentrate on just one side of any situation is to invite injustice. Already women’s groups are complaining that the conviction rate for rape is too low approx.45%. Imagine what they would say if it was only an approx. 6% conviction rate. Which is the most likely rate it would be if all cases were prosecuted. Are the D.P.P. to prosecute people because there’s enough evidence to do so or because the percentage of prosecutions need to be higher. Even worse should people be convicted of rape because the evidence against them proves beyond reasonable doubt that they are guilty or because the conviction figures need to be higher My personal belief is that the only purpose the legal system should have (and I hope its the belief of many others) is to as best it can convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent,

  • Margaret Gardener November 13, 2015 12:06 am

    George is correct in that those falsely accused of sex abuse are not recognised.

    What percentage of the figures presented are for those lucky enough to have their cases dropped or found not guilty because of false allegations.

    The falsely accused do not have the luxury of being refunded their costs, or both their and their families health.

    There are a number found guilty due to pressure of every day life giving out false information and many end up in prison maintaining innocence whilst seeking their appeals.

    Let us all wake up and recognise that false allegations exist as our helpline calls increase and put stronger measures into practice to identify and punish the false accuser and deal with them with strength.

    Let both those falsely accused and those who are genuine persons who have been attacked treated equally and both dealt with compassionately and on a level playing field.

    And maybe at last we can start to rely on the statistical figures produced, and our families can get back to safety.

    FASO Director

  • george November 14, 2015 10:22 am

    Marharet Gardner is correct.

    All efforts should be pushed not into increasing the conviction rates but rather more efforts should be expended into getting the correct judicial decision. The legal system works on the hypothesis that all its decisions are correct, making it very difficult to overturn a bad decision.

    I put it to the legal system that they should concentrate on increasing the percentage of correct decisions. In other words convict the guilty and acquit the innocent.

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