A letter has been sent to Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, raising concerns about the reduction in rape prosecutions, recently highlighted in the Crown Prosecution Services’ (CPS) VAWG Crime report and on the current disclosure requirements being placed on complainants in rape cases.
Commenting on the letter, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “As Victims Lead for the APCC, I feel I have no option but to put pen to paper to raise concerns on behalf of victims of rape and sexual offences.
“The recent CPS’s VAWG report made for very concerning reading; that despite the number of rape and sexual offence complaints to the police increasing there has been a massive drop in CPS prosecutions.
“I am also equally concerned about the current disclosure requirements being placed on complainants in rape cases. Complainants are routinely subject to a level of scrutiny far greater than that applied to other offences. This is not right, and does not properly protect a complainant’s right under Article 8. There is also a risk that the drive for improved disclosure will undermine victims’ rights and deter others from coming forward.”
APCC Deputy Victims Lead, PCC Marc Jones said: “I fully support this letter to the DPP. It is very worrying that Specialist CPS rape prosecutors in England and Wales are being advised to take a more ‘risk-averse approach’ in an attempt to take a proportion of “weaker” rape cases out the system to raise conviction rates. This has led to the bench mark for proceeding with rape cases to be higher than for other types of offence and we believe that this could severely limit victim’s access to justice and send a message to attackers that vulnerable people are open to abuse and the CPS will not prosecute.”
The joint letter to the DPP can be read in full by clicking here .
APCC response to CPS Violence against Women and Girls Report can be read by clicking here.