A plan to reverse a five-year decline in rape charges ‘should just be the first step,’ according to the plan.
MPs have been advised that plans to reverse a five-year decline in rape prosecutions and convictions are insufficient and should only be considered a “first step.”
Campaigners and survivors said the Government’s long-awaited Rape Review’s desire to return to 2016 levels by the end of this Parliament was good, but it should not be considered the final goal.
Despite reports of adult rape to police almost doubling since 2015-16, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures for 2019-20 show that 1,439 suspects were convicted of rape or lesser offences in England and Wales last year, the lowest level since records began and down from 1,925 the previous year.
In 2015-16, there were 4,643 rape prosecutions.
“I believe it’s been evident that 2016 was not ‘everything’s fine,” Ellie Ball, an independent sexual violence advocate (IVSA) service manager with Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“I believe we’ve gone from bad to non-existent, and the government’s goal is to get back to ‘bad’ levels.
“I don’t think that’s a viable option.
“I believe the study almost indicates a continuous degradation of standards in this area of policing and prosecutions,” says the author.
Ms Ball stated that there have been instances where police have actively discouraged complainants from pursuing their case.
“I believe there have been a lot of occasions where the police breathe a sigh of relief because it is one less thing on their plate when the victim chooses to disengage,” she added.
“The Rape Review really fails to get to grips with the gravity of the problem,” Ms Ball continued.
“I believe we have already reached the lowest point; I do not believe we have another three years to see if this works.”
The 2016 figures, according to Emily Hunt, a survivor who assisted the government on the study, were not good enough then or now.
“This isn’t the time for a pat on the back or a victory lap,” she remarked. All of this has been insufficient.”
Around 13% of rape cases are recorded. (This is a brief piece.)