The Victims' Commissioner responds to the HMCPSI report published today on the handling of rape prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service.

HMCPSI has today published a review of rape prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The review was commissioned by the Government’s National Criminal Justice Board because, despite an increase in the number of allegations of rape made to the police, there has been a sharp drop both in the number of cases the police refer to the CPS and the number of cases charged, prosecuted and convicted by the CPS.

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

“Rape is a terrible and traumatising crime which can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on victims’ lives.

“This report by the CPS inspectorate throws no light on why, in the year to March 2019, there were 58,657 allegations of rape in England and Wales but only 1,925 successful prosecutions. CPS charges were the lowest ever recorded this year yet the organisation’s own inspectorate is unable to tell victims why this should be.

“The huge majority of victims whose lives are shattered by rape and whose cases are never pursued to prosecution, deserve answers. These people are not statistics to be put into an annex to a long-winded report which fails to get to the point, they are vulnerable people who have suffered a most damaging crime and who have been let down by the agencies tasked with delivering justice.

“Last week the Prime Minister promised to improve the criminal justice system and make it easier for victims to come forward. His manifesto commitment of an inquiry into the criminal justice system needs to be actioned urgently. Important aspects of such an inquiry, which this report lacks, would be its independence, its determination to find the truth and that it should listen to the experiences of victims.”