A report by Centre for Women’s Justice, the End Violence Against Women
Coalition, Imkaan and Rape Crisis England and Wales. These group of leading women’s organisations who, for decades, have worked to improve
support and access to justice for survivors of rape and sexual abuse, and to tackle the societal structures which underpin the persistence of violence against women and girls (VAWG) today.
Our work includes campaigning, advising, advocating for, and delivering specialist services to victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse
Since the publication of the Rape Review in June 2021, multiple reports, inspections, and inquiries have been published seeking to address how rape is investigated and prosecuted. We have also seen the mass exposure of police-perpetrated abuse, and further revelations about the scale of
misogyny, sexism, racism, homophobia and ableism within policing, as illustrated by the Casey Review earlier this year.
The findings expose the underbelly of policing and the extent to which the police are failing in their duties to women and girls every day, with numerous recommendations highlighting the need for wide-ranging changes. Tackling this issue requires long-term and dedicated work, and we are realistic in our expectations: there are no quick fixes. Systemic transformation requires ongoing and renewed commitment from officers, prosecutors, government and senior leaders in the criminal
justice system (CJS).
The government’s stated ambition for their ‘end-to-end’ Rape Review was to return the volumes of police referrals, CPS charges and rape cases reaching court to pre-2016 levels. However, although charging rates have improved since 2021, they remain at alarmingly low levels. The gradual increase in the number of suspects charged since the Rape Review falls far short of reaching 2016 levels, as shown by the graphs below.
In the first annual figures following the Rape Review, the total cases charged had increased from 1,955 to 2,223.7 In the twelve months to December 2022, the figure had reached only 2,788;8
an annual total that remains well below the almost 4,000 charged in the year 2015/16. At this rate of increase, it will be many years before we reach 2015/16 charging levels, which in itself does not take into account reported rapes having more than doubled in the same period