Update (27th October 2022): The latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a record number of rapes were recorded in the year to June 2022. 70,600 rapes were registered - up from 59,046 in 2019-20 and almost double the 36,321 cases recorded in the year to March 2016.
Today (20th October 2022), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has released it latest quarterly data on rape, sexual offences and domestic abuse. The figures reveal that the government is still failing to meet its commitments to deliver justice for victims and survivors of rape, as promised in its End-to-End Rape Review.
Worryingly, we are once again seeing a steady decline in charging, prosecutions and convictions for domestic abuse, where the figures are consistently worsening.
While charging, prosecution and conviction rates for rape are creeping up at a marginal rate compared to the last quarter, the CPS remains a long way off of reaching its own target of returning to 2016 levels. At the time, these levels were considered inadequate, but following the collapse in prosecutions widely referred to as the decriminalisation of rape, they are now shockingly considered an ambitious target.
The latest CPS data on rape for the year ending June 2022 shows that:
- Despite the latest annual data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recording a record 194,683 sexual offences, just 4,466 rape cases were referred to the CPS. This is a rise from 3,566 the year before, but falls significantly short of the 6,611 cases referred in 2016
- Charges were brought in just 2,385 cases. While this constitutes an increase on the previous year, it falls short of the to 3,671 cases in which charges were brought in 2016
- 2,558 prosecutions were completed, again creeping up marginally from the previous year but nearly half as many as the 5,190 completed in 2016
- Despite a creeping increase on the previous year, there were just 1,765 convictions for rape, compared to 2,991 convictions in 2016
In a context in which a record number of survivors are reporting that they are victims of sexual offences like rape, these latest figures underscore the extent to which the criminal justice system is failing to deliver justice for the vast majority of rape survivors. And this is just the tip of the iceberg: 5 in 6 women who are raped don’t report it to the police at all.
|22/23 Q1 RYTD||21/22 Q1 RYTD||20/21 Q1 RYTD||19/20 Q1 RYTD||2016 Levels (target)|
|CPS Completed Prosecutions||2,558||1,940||1,727||2,652||5,190|
|CPS Conviction Rate||69.00%||68.70%||71.00%||63.80%||57.60%|
We are once again concerned at the continued downward spiral in charging, prosecution and convictions for domestic abuse.
Police referrals to the CPS are once again down on the previous year, with just 67,790 cases referred compared to 72,527 in the year ending June 2021 (a decline of 6.5%).
CPS charges, completed prosecutions and convictions have also all dropped this quarter. CPS charges for domestic abuse this quarter are now staggeringly lower than the same period in Q1 2020/21, when the pandemic caused a systems shutdown in our justice system.
We call for urgent action to investigate why this is happening. We cannot afford to see the justice system’s response to domestic abuse collapse as we saw in its treatment of rape, which caused untold harm for thousands upon thousands of women.
|22/23 Q1 RYTD||21/22 Q1 RYTD||20/21 Q1 RYTD||19/20 Q1 RYTD|
|CPS Completed Prosecutions||52,125||59,709||53,236||74,037|
|CPS Conviction Rate||76.80%||77.50%||78.00%||76.73%|
Janaya Walker, Public Affairs Manager at the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:
“We need to see urgent action to improve the criminal justice system’s treatment of violence against women and girls. Despite repeated assurances that this is a priority, the case remains that for both rape and domestic abuse, the government is nowhere near its own target of a return to 2016 levels.
Looking at the latest data in particular, there are major questions to be asked about what is driving such a steady decline in police referrals to the CPS for domestic abuse, which are on an alarming downward spiral. This is despite the fact that frontline VAWG services are reporting immense demand for support from survivors of domestic abuse; a trend at risk of worsening in the cost of living crisis.
Despite attempts to lay blame elsewhere for paltry progress in delivering justice to rape survivors, EVAW is clear that the system has been broken for years and this is the direct result of government policy.”
Today, the CPS has finally committed to research the “needs of vulnerable victims and intersectionality” in a refreshed joint action plan with the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
EVAW and our partners have long called for more attention to the needs of victims from minoritised backgrounds, as we are concerned that inequalities in access to justice and outcomes for survivors are totally masked within this data.
With the ongoing turbulence in government, the long-promised Victims’ Law – which promises to improve how the criminal justice system treats survivors – hangs in the balance, while specialist support services face funding crises and a difficult winter, particularly services run by and for Black and minoritised women.
The End Violence Against Women Coalition will continue campaigning to ensure that victims and survivors of violence against women and girls are treated fairly and equally throughout the criminal justice process from report to court, and can access justice and the support they need to heal.
Sinead Geoghegan, Communications Manager: 07960 744 502, firstname.lastname@example.org