Written by on 2nd May 2021

Today (Tuesday) in UK Parliament, the first female Member of Parliament for Pontypridd in South Wales, will lead on an Urgent Question to the Attorney General asking for an update on the Government’s delayed rape review.

Analysis of Home Office figures this week found that fewer than one in 60 rape cases recorded by the police last year resulted in a suspect being charged.

In 2020 there were 52,210 rapes reported by police in England and Wales yet only 843 resulted in a charge or summons; representing a rate of 1.6% or fewer than one in 60.

In March 2019, the Home Office pledged to investigate how the reports of rapes are handled by police and prosecutors, amid warnings that victims are having their privacy violated with intrusive disclosure practices.

This Government review into how rape is investigated and prosecuted in England and Wales was commissioned more than two years ago and planned to be completed in spring 2020, yet has repeatedly been pushed back and has faced significant delay.

More than 100,000 rapes have been reported to the police since the review was first announced in March 2019, yet for every 10 cases the CPS prosecuted in 2016-17, it now pursues only three.

The volume of prosecutions declined 71% between 2016-17 and the calendar year to December 2020, from 5,190 to 1,490.

The coronavirus crisis has hit the criminal justice system in England and Wales particularly hard and research from the Institute of Government further estimates that the backlog in Crown Court jury trials has spiked by 89% since the pandemic began.

In Wales, the Government passed the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act in 2015 which set out 10 national indicators of progress in tackling violence against women and girls by which the Government can be held to account.

Ahead of the Urgent Question in Parliament, Alex Davies-Jones MP said:

“It is undeniable that we are facing a crisis in our criminal justice system and that victims of rape are simply facing too many barriers to accessing justice.

The announcement of the rape review in 2019 was initially a positive step in the right direction but two years down the line, we still have no clarity on when the UK Government plan to make public their recommendations.

Even more worryingly, we are now seeing victims of rape lose faith in the justice system altogether, with the proportion of victims withdrawing from prosecutions doubling from 20 per cent to more than 40 per cent in five years.

The findings this week are utterly shocking and my heart goes out to any victim of rape or any form of violence against women and girls.

On a local level I have been leading on a community taskforce, working with local schools, South Wales Police, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council and local charities to improve the situation for women and girls in my local area.

Yet victims of any crime should be able to report their circumstances in the knowledge that their cases will be dealt with fairly and in good time, and it is utterly devastating that so many rape victims feel that the best course of action is to withdraw from the legal process altogether.

Having heard from a number of people across Pontypridd and Rhondda Cynon Taff who have been the victims of domestic and sexual violence, I felt utterly compelled to act and push for answers.

For those having to live with the mental and often physical impacts of rape, enough is enough – I sincerely hope that the UK Government are ready to finally listen and take action.”

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