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Victims’ Commissioner responds to Home Office figures showing just 1.5% of rape cases result in a prosecution

"Things must change and they must change soon." Dame Vera Baird calls latest rape statistics “shameful” and says “we cannot go on like this".

The latest Home Office crime figures show 56,152 alleged rapes in the year to September 2020, but analysis showed just 1.5 per cent of reported cases produced a charge.

The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird, said:

“If you are raped in Britain today, your chances of seeing justice are slim. Even though police are now referring more and more cases to the CPS, we have seen a catastrophic fall in rape prosecutions. The latest data show just 1.5% of cases result in a charge. That means that more than 98% of cases do not reach court. This is shameful and has real and profound consequences for victims up and down the country.

To date, the CPS has failed to offer any convincing explanation to account for the fall in the number of cases they are prosecuting and there has been so sign of a change in this disastrous downward trend. Just this past week, women’s groups have challenged what they see as a deliberate and unlawful policy change by the CPS in the Court of Appeal and hundreds and hundreds have contributed to crowdfund this legal action.

These groups allege that the CPS has acted unlawfully in continuously failing to prosecute more than a few cases a year. We await a judgement. But it is clear that whatever the outcome, it is a damning indictment of the CPS policy on rape prosecutions that it has come to this. Things must change and they must change soon. We cannot go on like this.
Make no mistake, this is of overwhelming public importance. Rape is often a serial offence and rapists carry on until they are stopped. Through this failure to prosecute and refusal to change, we risk creating more victims.”