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Rape Cases

Volume 507: debated on Thursday 11 March 2010

15. What recent steps she has taken to reduce the time taken between charges being brought and court proceedings in rape cases. The Crown Prosecution Service tries to ensure that at the time of charge, cases are as trial-ready as possible, so that subsequent delays in the court process can be avoided. Ensuring that whenever possible one specialist rape prosecutor takes on a case from start to finish contributes to better case management and better timeliness. (321520)

The conviction rate from charge to conviction is 58 per cent., which represents a significant increase on what the rate has been historically. By analogy, 65 per cent. is the conviction rate for robbery. There is obviously still room for improvement, but things are going in the right direction. It is imperative that we send out a message that rapists are now being convicted at that rate, so that women—and, indeed, men—have the confidence to report, and do not feel that they will be put through the mill again. There is still a large drop-out rate between complaint and getting to court, but we are trying to tackle that in a range of ways. We now have 30 sexual assault referral centres, and a whole phalanx of independent sexual violence advisers who befriend and support a complainant from the minute they come to the police until the end of the case. This gives the complainant better sustenance than they would have had before.