I am delighted that the Government has announced a root and branch review into how the criminal justice system handles rape cases.
This is something I have been campaigning for. There is an ‘explosive cocktail’ of shockingly low charging and conviction rates at a time when record numbers of women – over 40,000 a year – are reporting rape.
The review is long overdue. We must not allow the clocks to be turned back to a situation where rape victims are frightened to speak out because they fear they will not get justice.
It is vital that the review thinks ‘outside the box’ and examines whether the jury system is the best way to deliver justice in rape cases because of the dominance of ‘rape myths’ in society, such as girls who drink or wear short skirts are ‘asking for it’.
This week I also released Freedom on Information figures which show that the number of rape cases charged by the Crown Prosecution Service has plummeted again and is getting worse each year. According to the statistics, there was a 24.6 per cent drop in charging rates from 61.9 per cent in 2013/2014 to 37.3 per cent by September 2018.
These new figures show once again that the justice system is not working for rape victims as fewer and fewer men accused of rape are being charged.
The obvious conclusion is that it appears that because juries are reluctant to find young men guilty of rape that the CPS are scared and reluctant to prosecute and the police are scared and reluctant to refer cases forward to the CPS.
The loser is the rape victim. They feel they have been denied access to justice.
See more in the Guardian here – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/06/prosecution-rate-in-england-and-wales-falls-to-five-year-low?fbclid=IwAR2v_Q4oyTtay5NeUe0WNd5ZjYNJA6DKl833xkeF5Rl9xEAiHrsreBkg0zs