On 26th January 2023, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest crime figures, showing that sexual offences are at the highest level recorded.
The data shows there has been a stark increase of 22% in sexual offences, compared to the year ending March 2020. 35% of all sexual offences recorded in the year ending September 2022 were rape offences, a shocking 20% increase from March 2020.
The latest Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) data on rape, released on 19th January 2023, make it clear that despite various government commitments, the CPS is still falling short of meeting government targets returning to 2016 charging levels – which itself was already considered a low bar.
In Q2 of 2022 there were 2,616 charges for rape offences, compared to 3,671 in 2016; and despite incremental increases in recent periods, we actually saw a slight decrease in prosecutions and convictions from Q1 this year, with court backlogs cited as a key factor.
These statistics are concerning and a reminder that despite the recent government announcement 18 months on from the pivotal Rape Review Action Plan, which praised the increase in referrals of rape to the CPS and marginal increase in conviction rates, the CPS is still failing victims and survivors of rape.
Alarmingly, recent months have seen the criminal justice system response to domestic abuse mirror the downward trend in charging and prosecutions for rape.
The ONS data shows recorded domestic abuse offences have risen by 14% since March 2020. But by contrast, the CPS data shows that police referrals to the CPS for a charging decision in cases of domestic abuse remain worryingly low – a concerning trend we have been flagging for sometime.
The recent data released by the CPS also highlight the poor experiences of rape and domestic abuse victims going through the criminal justice system, who face unprecedented waits for decisions in their cases, and a poor likelihood that charges will be brought, let alone a conviction.
Andrea Simon, Director of End Violence Against Women Coalition said:
“While sexual offences are once again the highest on record, the criminal justice system response remains shockingly poor, with survivors of rape and domestic abuse experiencing a justice system that is failing to charge, prosecute and convict perpetrators.
The government must be accountable to survivors and the organisations that support them, by ensuring there is long overdue root and branch transformation of the criminal justice system’s treatment of violence against women.”
CPS data tables
Rolling Year to Date Q2:
|Rape Receipt Volumes||4,660||4,638||3,764||2,890||3,269||3,533||4,925|
|Rape Charged Volumes||3,937||3,436||2,045||1,783||1,916||2,050||2,616|
|Rape Charged Rate (of Legal Decisions)||63.60%||62.10%||53.30%||52.00%||60.70%||66.70%||70.59%|
|Rape Prosecution Volumes||4,931||4,792||4,056||2,343||1,528||2,234||2,475|
|Rape Conviction Volumes||2,840||2,806||2,435||1,540||1,100||1,517||1,678|
|Rape Conviction Rate||57.60%||58.60%||60.00%||65.70%||72.00%||67.90%||67.80%|
Rolling Year to Date Q2:
|Domestic Abuse Receipt Volumes||119,056||112,128||106,539||86,665||81,813||68,287||69,016|
|Domestic Abuse Charged Volumes||81,279||79,306||74,236||59,685||53,372||45,605||46,052|
|DA Charged Rate (of Legal Decisions)||74.00%||75.50%||75.70%||73.00%||71.50%||71.30%||74.63%|
|Domestic Abuse Prosecution Volumes||97,521||91,291||85,702||69,756||52,310||54,480||51,526|
|Domestic Abuse Conviction Volumes||73,466||69,492||65,523||53,648||41,419||43,711||39,611|
|Domestic Abuse Conviction Rate||75.30%||76.10%||76.50%||76.90%||79.20%||80.20%||76.90%|