The latest data from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) released today (20th January 2022) covers the three-month period of 1st July to 30th September 2021 (quarter 2 of 2021/22). It shows that once again, there has been little if any improvement in charging, prosecuting and convicting cases of rape – with a stagnant system falling significantly short of its own target of meeting 2016 levels of prosecution and convictions.
Following public outcry at the effective decriminalisation of rape, the government and CPS made a public commitment that charging in cases of rape would return to the levels seen in 2016, when 3,671 suspects were charged out of a total of 6,611 suspects referred by police. At the time this was seen as inadequate, but plummeting levels of rape prosecution in recent years mean they are shockingly now considered a level of ambition.
These latest statistics show 2,050 rape suspects charged across the 12 months to September 2021, with a corresponding 3,533 suspects referred from the police. Yet again, this shows that the CPS isn’t anywhere near making the improvements needed to deliver their promise of a return to 2016 charging levels by spring 2024.
Completed prosecutions and convictions also fall short of 2016 levels as well as falling below figures from before the pandemic caused a systems shutdown in quarter 4 of 2019/20.
|21/22 Q2 RYTD||20/21 Q2 RYTD||19/20 Q2 RYTD||2016 Levels (target)|
|CPS “Admin Finalised”||1,260||1,014||1,442||761|
|Total Legal Decisions||3,072||3,154“||3,432|
|CPS Completed Prosecutions||2,234||1,528||2,343||5,190|
|CPS Conviction Rate||67.90%||65.70%||57.60%|
RYTD = rolling year to date
First Covid-19 Lockdown began in Q4 of 19/20.
The latest figures show a continuation of the downward trajectory in domestic abuse suspects referred by police and charged. While there appears to be an improvement in prosecutions and convictions compared to the previous year, when compared to pre-pandemic data, the overall bigger picture remains one of long term reductions in domestic abuse charging, prosecutions and convictions.
|21/22 Q2 RYTD||20/21 Q2 RYTD||19/20 Q2 RYTD|
|CPS Completed Prosecutions||57,344||52,310||69,756|
|CPS Conviction Rate||76.2%||79.2%||76.8%|
With the upcoming Victims’ Law, we’re calling for wholesale changes in the ways the criminal justice system understands and responds to the needs of victims and survivors. This includes legal advocacy for those going through the system, greater accountability and transparency, commissioning of specialist support services and legal protection afforded to counselling notes.
Rebecca Hitchen, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:
“Our justice system is broken and failing women. Despite continuous promises to improve and targets to meet, the system is completely stagnant when it comes to rape. Likewise, the alarming downward trajectory in charging, prosecuting and convicting in cases of domestic abuse requires urgent and serious attention.
We can’t talk about rebuilding women’s trust in the police and justice system while there is no tangible positive change to the things that matter – seeing justice and getting the specialist support survivors need.
Almost one year on from the public outcry following Sarah Everard’s murder, very little if anything has changed in the response to violence against women. Once again we’re calling on the government and CPS to give this deeply unjust issue the attention it warrants, demonstrate strong leadership and ensure proper accountability.”
The End Violence Against Women Coalition has been campaigning alongside survivors and frontline organisations to see radical transformation in the response to rape – from an overhaul of the criminal justice process, to sustainable funding for vital support services including those led by and for Black and minoritised women which are chronically underfunded, leaving many at risk of closure.
EVAW contact: Sinead Geoghegan
Tel: 07960 744 502