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Call for evidence

Investigation and prosecution of rape

Background

As part of the Committee’s overarching work into violence against women and girls, the Committee wishes to explore the key question of why rape prosecutions are falling. 

Reports of rape and sexual offences are increasing, while the number of prosecutions and convictions are decreasing.

Since 2014, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decisions to prosecute have fallen by 51% - almost double the rate of the drop in police referrals to the CPS which are down by 27%.

CPS data published in January 2021 shows that there were 524 prosecutions from April to September 2020. There were 397 convictions resulting from those 524 prosecutions.

In 2019-20, police recorded 55,130 rapes, while the most recent CPS data shows that there were 2,102 prosecutions and 1,439 convictions for rape in England and Wales in 2019-20. The BBC has reported that, in the year to March 2020, just 1.4% of rape cases recorded by police resulted in a suspect being charged (or receiving a summons).

The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales Dame Vera Baird has warned that rape is being decriminalised. The Director of Public Prosecutions has also suggested that there should be a ‘frank and full conversation’ about the fall in the number of rape prosecutions and convictions.

 

Terms of reference

The Committee invites evidence on the following points:

  • Whether victims have access to justice, whether witnesses are sufficiently supported, and whether there are sufficient safeguards for those who are accused of rape and sexual offences to ensure that they receive a fair trial;
  • The role of the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the courts in reporting, prosecuting and convicting in cases of rape and sexual assault, including the advice and guidance that is used to train, educate and support those involved in the disclosure, charging and prosecution of rape;
  • What the barriers are to reporting, charging, prosecuting and convicting rape and sexual assaults;
  • Challenges around disclosure and whether the current disclosure arrangements affect the reporting, investigation, prosecution and sentencing of rape cases;
  • The success of organisational strategies and plans, for example the Joint National Disclosure Improvement Plan and the CPS’ RASSO 2025 strategy.

The Committee is keen to understand from victims and survivors of rape and serious sexual assault what changes they think could help improve the experience of reporting what has happened to the police and going to court to get justice.

If you would like to submit your lived experience to the Committee, you can find questions about going through the criminal justice system following experiences of sexual violence here. You can also share why you might have chosen not to go through the criminal justice system. Responses to these questions should be received by 11 May 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact homeaffcom@parliament.uk

Submissions on the terms of reference set out above should be received by 12 noon on Monday 7 June 2021.

Click on the start button at the bottom of this page to submit written evidence.

 

Important information about making a submission

Written evidence must address the terms of reference as set out above, but please note that submissions do not have to address every point. Guidance on giving evidence to a select committee of the House of Commons is available here.

In line with the general practice of select committees the Home Affairs Committee is not able to take up individual cases. If you would like political support or advice you may wish to contact your local Member of Parliament.

The Committee will decide whether to accept each submission. If your submission is accepted by the Committee, it will usually be published online. It will then be available permanently for anyone to view. It can’t be changed or removed. If you have included your name or any personal information in your submission, that will normally be published too. Please consider how much personal information you want or need to share. If you include personal information about other people in your submission, the Committee may decide not to publish it. Your contact details will never be published.

Decisions about publishing evidence anonymously, or about accepting but not publishing evidence, are made by the Committee. If you would like to ask the Committee to accept your submission anonymously (meaning it will be published but without your name), or confidentially (meaning it won't be published at all), please say at the start of your evidence which of these you want to request, and tell us why. This lets the Committee know what you would like but the final decision will be taken by the Committee.

The Committee has discretion over which submissions it accepts as evidence, and which of those it then publishes on its website. We may anonymise or redact some of your submission if it is published. The Committee may decide to accept evidence on a confidential basis. Confidential submissions remain available to the Committee but are not published or referred to in public. All written evidence will be considered by the Committee, whether or not it is published.

If your evidence raises any safeguarding concerns about you, or other people, then the Committee has a duty to raise these with the appropriate safeguarding authority.

We can’t publish submissions that mention ongoing legal cases – contact us if you are not sure what this means for you.

Submissions should be received by 12 noon on Monday 7 June 2021.

Click on the start button at the bottom of this page to submit written evidence.

 

Signposting

We understand that the issues raised in this work may be sensitive or upsetting and the following organisations may be able to offer support or further information:  

- National Rape Crisis Helpline 0808 802 9999

- National Male Survivors Helpline 0808 800 5005

- National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428

- Samaritans  116 123 

Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer medical, practical, and emotional support.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, the Government has published information about helplines and websites that may be able to help, including

- National Domestic Abuse helpline 0808 2000 247 

 

Specialist support for Black and minoritised women:

Imkaan has compiled a list of specialist services available here.

 

Asian Women’s Centre

The AWRC are part of a pan London partnership and on their Projects page give links to other community based organisations working in the same field.

 

Specialist support for Deaf and disabled people:

Stay Safe East

Advocacy and support for Deaf and disabled victims and survivors of abuse.

Phone: 0208 519 7241

Text: 07587 134 122

Email: enquiries@staysafe-east.org.uk

 

SignHealth

Advice and support for Deaf adults and young people experiencing domestic abuse.

Phone: 020 3947 2601

Text: 07800 003421

Email: da@signhealth.org.uk

 

Submissions should be received by 12 noon on Monday 7 June 2021.

Click on the start button below to submit written evidence.

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