The latest Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) data released today, 21st July 2022, shows it is still failing to meet its own targets to transform justice outcomes for rape survivors, while charging, prosecutions and convictions in cases of domestic abuse continue to decline.
While charging, prosecution and conviction rates are creeping up at a marginal rate, they are a long way off from reaching the justice agency’s own target of returning to 2016 levels. At the time, these levels were considered inadequate, but following the collapse in prosecutions, they are now shockingly considered an ambitious target.
This data has been published on the same day that the Office for National Statistics released new figures showing sexual offences recorded by the police were at the highest level recorded within a 12-month period (194,683 offences) in the year ending March 2022 – a 32% increase from the same period in 2021.
The latest data for the year ending March 2022 shows that:
- Just 4,049 cases were referred to the police, compared to 6,611 in 2016 – despite record numbers of recorded offences
- Charges were brought in just 2,223 cases, compared to 3,671 cases in 2016
- 2,537 prosecutions were completed, nearly half as many as the 5,190 completed in 2016
- There were just 1,733 convictions for rape, compared to 2,991 in 2016
We remain concerned that we are once again seeing a downward trajectory in charging, prosecution and convictions for domestic abuse.
It is clear that there is a fundamental issue with the police and CPS approach to domestic abuse and that urgent action is required to investigate why this is happening and improve justice outcomes for victims and survivors.
We have seen how slow the pace of progress has been to improve justice outcomes for rape survivors and the massively harmful impact this has had. We cannot afford to see the same happen to the tens of thousands of women who report domestic abuse.
Andrea Simon, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:
“Marginal, creeping progress is not enough to fix our broken justice system, not least because these slight increases in charging, prosecutions and convictions start from such an appallingly low baseline and because the CPs is still failing to meet their own stated target of returning to 2016 levels.
Women and girls are still being systematically failed by a system that’s meant to protect them and worse still, they are being actively harmed by a process that treats them like the one under investigation, with rape myths and stereotypes informing decision making at every stage of a victim’s journey through the justice system. We urgently call for transformation so that all victims receive procedural justice by being treated fairly and equally when they report rape and sexual violence.
We are still concerned about the inaccessible presentation of this essential data. This is a huge obstacle blocking true transparency and accountability to victims and survivors. What’s more, the CPS have failed to include data on timeliness of cases, when we know that rape survivors often face years for their case to go to court, if it gets there at all – far longer than victims of other types of crime.
All of this is deeply alarming as the latest data shows more sexual offences are being recorded than ever before. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that more offences are taking place, and may reflect greater awareness and inclination to report to police, this data takes us a step closer to understanding the shocking scale of rape and sexual assault in the UK.
However, we know that these figures are still just the tip of the iceberg, as many women do not feel able to report to police, for reasons ranging from societal cultures of victim-blaming, to rape myths, stereotypes and discrimination that impact how survivors are treated by the police. Fewer than 20% of victims report rape to the police in the first place. In our joint Decriminalisation of Rape report, EVAW, the Centre for Women’s Justice, Imkaan and Rape Crisis England & Wales outlined the actions needed to transform the system for survivors. Two years later, we’re still waiting for meaningful change.”
These figures come at a time when we are continually hearing promises from leaders, including in the Conservative party leadership contest, to improve justice for victims and survivors, and rebuild women’s trust in the justice system. In addition, the recently announced Victims’ Law promises to improve how the criminal justice system treats survivors.
The End Violence Against Women Coalition is clear that as long as women’s experiences of the police, prosecutors and court system are harmful and prevent justice, there can be no trust and confidence in the system, which means no accountability or consequences for perpetrators.
We will continue campaigning for transformation of our broken justice system until we see victims and survivors facing a fair and equal process, better justice outcomes and sustainable government funding for vital support services, including those led by and for Black and minoritised women which are chronically underfunded and often at risk of closure.
Notes to editors
Data tables compiling the latest CPS data:
|21/22 Q4 RYTD||20/21 Q4 RYTD||19/20 Q4
|2016 Levels (target)|
|CPS “Admin Finalised”||1,493||1,244||996||761|
|CPS Completed Prosecutions||2,537||1,557||2,102||5,190|
|CPS Conviction Rate||68.3%||71.2%||68.5%||57.60%|
|Av consultations per suspect||2.58||2.59|
|Av time to charge||145.92||144.58|
|21/22 Q4 RYTD||20/21 Q4 RYTD||19/20 Q4 RYTD|
|CPS Completed Prosecutions||53,207||54,515||61,169|
|CPS Conviction Rate||76.4%||78.1%||77.7%|
|Av consultations per suspect||1.56||1.46|
|Av time to charge||18.27||14.96|