PCCs welcome the steps set out by the Government to ensure better support for rape victims
Today (18 June), the Government has published an action plan following its an end-to-end review into how the criminal justice system handles rape.
Sophie Linden, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and APCC Victims’ Lead, said: “For too long, the criminal justice system has failed victims of rape. I welcome the steps set out by the Government to ensure better support for rape victims throughout the whole criminal justice process, as well as measures to address the historically low number of rape cases that make it to court.
“Low charge rates have left rape victims feeling there is little point in reporting. And in the cases when they do, victims often feel like it is their credibility and sexual history which is put on public trial, not their attacker. When rape goes unreported, rapists go unpunished. Often, attackers go on to attack again. This is a dire state of affairs.
“From City Hall we have been leading the way in developing and working on a pilot with Avon and Somerset Police, backed by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, to improve convictions for rape cases, and to ensure victims are better supported through the investigation process. It will result in the development of innovative ways to prevent prolific offenders from reoffending, and the introduction of measures to reduce the number of victims withdrawing from pursuing cases.
“PCCs and Deputy Mayors will also continue to fund vital local services which provide support and counselling to victims of rape and sexual violence, whether they choose to report to the police or not. We know our communities best, and it is right that the services we commission are tailored to their specific needs. I am also pleased the role Independent Sexual Violence Advisors play in supporting victims as their cases progress to court is being recognised, including with additional funding.
“In order to ensure rape victims get the justice they deserve, we need urgent action on the court backlog. Rape victims are seeing huge delays to their cases, and this is putting them through yet more trauma and uncertainty. We need to see an increase in court capacity and to continue to ensure resources are given to specialist support services for victims, to help them through these long delays.”