RASASC has welcomed the report into the Government’s review addressing the dramatic drop in rape prosecutions. While we acknowledge the reviews findings that the needs of victims of rape and sexual assault are not being met, there is still an awful lot to be done to address failings in the way survivors are treated by the criminal justice system.
Since 2016, rape prosecutions are at a historic low – falling by nearly 60% in four years – despite the number of rapes being reported having doubled.
According to figures in the review, there are around 128,000 victims of rape and attempted rape each year. Fewer than 20% of these incidents are reported to the police, and just 1.6% of these rapes and sexual assaults result in someone being charged.
In the review’s foreword, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Attorney General Michael Ellis, apologised for the treatment of rape victims, saying:
“The vast majority of victims do not see the crime against them charged and reach a court – one in two victims withdraw from rape investigations.
“These are trends of which we are deeply ashamed, …. victims of rape are being failed.”
The review outlines plans for reform, including shifting the focus of investigations from the victim’s credibility to the perpetrator, and putting greater emphasis on understanding a suspect’s behaviour.
RASASC Chief Executive Officer Lesley Devonport said:
“While we welcome this review, the culture of victim blaming and discrediting victims has been allowed to continue for too long. Rape and sexual assaults are deeply traumatic crimes, and people react in a number of different ways to intense trauma – this can include seeming upbeat or being in denial. Reactions such as these should in no way be taken as a sign that the rape or assault did not occur.
“RASASC supports all survivors of rape and sexual assault over the age of 13 across Surrey. We will support you whether you choose to report to the police or not, or whether the incident happened last week or many, many years ago.
“I would urge survivors who need our services to reach out if they are able to. All of our services are free and non-judgemental. We are here for you, and we believe you.”
To find out more about the services we provide, visit our website.