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Really Useful Reports - 2007
Without Consent - a report on the joint review of the investigation and prosecution of rape offences
H.M. Inspectorate of Constabulary
H.M. Crown Prosecution Inspectorate has published a thematic report called "Without Consent". This report is a joint review of the investigation and prosecution of rape offences. A copy of the report may be downloaded via the link below:
One of the recommendations coming out of the Report is to establish more Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) and consequently more capital funding has been released by central government with the aim of increasing SARC's from 14 to 40. However, the sexual violence sector are extremely concerned that without ensuring support, advocacy and counselling services are also in place developing SARC's cannot fully address the serious deficiencies identified in the review or advance the overall care and support provided to survivors of sexual violence.
Rape Conviction Rates in England & Wales
An analysis of Home Office data shows the gulf between reported cases of rape and those that end with a conviction. In 1980, one in three reported rapes ended in convictions. Today only one in 20 does. Only about half of reported rapes get past the initial police investigation stage and a quarter end up being reported as no crime having taken place. Successful Rape Conviction Rates in England & Wales vary widely between police forces.
A prediction for 2010 from Truth About Rape
The recently released rape report states:
"In 2001, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) conducted a joint thematic inspection into the investigation and prosecution of rape offences. The purpose of that inspection was "to analyse and assess the quality of the investigation, decision making and prosecution by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of allegations of rape". In doing so, its aim was to ascertain, if possible, the reasons for the high attrition rate and make recommendations to address this. Published in April 2002, the report made a total of 18 recommendations and three suggestions to improve:
In response, the Government published a Rape Action Plan (RAP) in July 2002, accepting virtually all of the recommendations put forward by the HMIC/HMCPSI report. Despite the relevant agencies having agreed to the RAP, research has continued to provide a picture of increasing attrition rates. As a result, in February 2005, a two-stage process to review progress on the way in which reports of rape are investigated and prosecuted was agreed by the Home Office, the police, the CPS, HMIC and HMCPSI, and comprised:
So what is the above saying? That there was a review in 2001, recommendations were made, a plan to implement the recommendations followed in 2002, another review was conducted in 2005 and here we are in 2007 with another report which gives more recommendations. NONE OF WHICH HAVE MADE THE SLIGHTEST DIFFERENCE TO HOW RAPE IS INVESTIGATED OR PROSECUTED.
WE PREDICT by 2010 we will be in exactly the same position with more promises of research, recommendations and reports from the Home Office. For how much longer can the Home Office continue to hoodwink the country while tens of thousands of pounds are spent on research that does little more than replicate research of the past by telling us what we already know and while rape crisis groups close?
The report gives a checklist of previous recommendations that were made and the progress that has been made on each one (see pages 164 - 168). Their idea of progress is quite fantastical however. Here is an example (pretty much chosen at random because so many claims of progress could be challenged):
"Recommendation: All rape cases be allocated to specialist lawyers, who should be responsible for the case from advice stage to conclusion of any proceedings.
Substantial progress Rape specialists have been introduced and are responsible for the majority of cases. (Reservations about their qualifications are expressed elsewhere.) The use of non-specialist duty prosecutors at charging centres means that some advice, especially in custody cases, may not be given by specialists". (p165)
The 'reservations about qualifications' of the so-called specialist prosecutors the above refers to is this section of the report from page 95:
"The CPS considers the specialist lawyer to be the keystone of the effective prosecution of rape cases. However, there is no set standard of competence for that specialism, and we found a wide range of practice and opinion. Generally, the specialists are experienced lawyers and must have attended the training course on sexual offences. Some are also required to have attended the course on Speaking Up for Justice (about special measures for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses). Some had dealt regularly with rape cases; others, although experienced lawyers, had worked only in the magistrates' courts for a number of years and had not been allocated a rape case in that time. Lawyers might be appointed who had never dealt with a rape case from beginning to end". (There are a whole bunch of other 'reservations' expressed but you get the idea)
Ummm - how can that be defined as 'Substantial progress'??
The report is saying:
Wow, substantial progress indeed - specialist lawyers who have no recognised level of competence or experience! It would be like attending a university who advertised their academic body as experts and finding out they didn't have GCSEs (never mind degrees) of their own.
These are the very problems that we and other groups have been campaigning on for years but where we say 'the standard of competence of prosecutors is woefully inadequate and fails to deliver justice to women' this report congratulates itself!!
If George Orwell was alive he would certainly recognise this as 'Doublespeak' - language deliberately constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning.
Rape and sexual assault of women: the extent and nature of the problem
A Home Office Research Study into "Rape and sexual assault of women: the extent and nature of the problem" has presented findings from the British Crime Survey (BCS). These findings include:
BBC reporters visited SERICC to discuss the study and to learn more from our own first-hand findings. The full report can be found on the Home Office web site at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds, or from this site via the link below:
Rape and sexual assault of women: the extent and nature of the problem (PDF 324kB)
Truth about rape
The British Crime Survey was a start for the UK, however, interviews were not necessarily conducted in private, women under 16 were not involved in the survey, neither were homeless women or women in institutions.
SERICC was not surprised or shocked by the Crime Survey results. Rape Crisis Centres have always known the extent of rape in the UK and statistics show the numbers are higher.
One in four women and girls experience rape or attempted rape in their life time. Over 50,000 women and girls a year contact Rape Crisis Centres, only 12% of whom report the attack to the police.
T ruth; 85% of rapes are by a known man
A ll women are at risk, from 3 to 93; women are raped
R ape is a crime not a misunderstanding
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