Government need to get a grip of ‘appalling’ 1.7% rate of rape prosecutions – Labour

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Ministers must “get a grip” and deal with the “appalling” rate of rape prosecutions, Labour has said.

Shadow solicitor general Nick Thomas-Symonds (pictured) highlighted the latest official figures which show 1.7% of reported rapes reach prosecution.

He said the “awful figures” have got “even worse in recent months”, and said the Government’s law officers are presiding over a situation where more than 98% of reported rapes do not reach the charging stage.

Solicitor General Lucy Frazer acknowledged conviction rates “need to go up” and work is ongoing to improve them.

She added rape is “one of the most difficult offences to prove”, noting it “often relies on the say-so and testimony of individuals, the evidence of two people”.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “One area in which community engagement by the Crown Prosecution Service is vital is in the terrible crime of rape.

“The latest Home Office figures show the proportion of reported rapes reaching prosecution is now at a pitiful 1.7%. In January that was 1.9%.

“Why does the Solicitor General think an awful figure has got even worse in recent months?”

Ms Frazer described rape as an “absolutely terrible crime”, adding: “I am very pleased the reporting figures for rape have gone up over the years and more people are feeling able to report rape – also through various pilots we have done in various local regions that are going to be rolled out, we have managed to improve those figures.

“The conviction rates still need to go up and we’re looking at how we can improve those.”

Mr Thomas-Symonds said the figures was not the conviction rate but the proportion of rapes reaching charging stage.

He added: “The law officers are presiding over a situation where more than 98% of reported rapes are not even getting to that stage.

“We desperately need action. Let’s stop the cuts to the investigative capacity of the police and CPS, let’s get the balance on disclosure right, let’s invest properly in victims’ support.

“I say seriously to the law officers – these figures are appalling, they must get a grip.”

Ms Frazer replied: “Rape is one of the most difficult offences to prove, which often relies on the say-so and testimony of individuals, the evidence of two people.

“I recently met with the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) and discussed this issue and he’s highlighted to me and evidenced and reiterated the importance of collecting the evidence for these terrible crimes in order that we bring successful prosecutions.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) House of Commons / PA Wire.