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Committee question legal bodies on low rape prosecution rates

30 November 2021

The Home Affairs Committee continues its inquiry into the investigation and prosecution of rape when it takes evidence from representatives of the Bar Council, the Criminal Bar Association, the Law Commission and the Law Society.

Witnesses

Wednesday 1 December, 2021

At 10.00am

  • Kirsty Brimelow QC, Vice-Chair, The Criminal Bar Association
  • Ellie Cumbo, Head of Public Law, The Law Society
  • Professor Penney Lewis, Criminal Law Commissioner, The Law Commission
  • Derek Sweeting QC, Chair, The Bar Council

In the last five years (between 2015/16 and 2020/21), the number of prosecutions for rape has fallen by 59% and convictions by 47%. In 2020, the number of victims dropping out of cases was 43%, in part due to lengthy investigations and delays in reaching trial. The National Audit Office has calculated that in June 2021 there were over 1,300 sexual offences cases waiting over a year to begin, an increase of 435% since March 2020. According to the Criminal Bar Association, RASSO cases are complex to prepare but wider issues with the rates of funding for criminal barristers can make it harder to attract skilled advocates.

The session provides an opportunity for the Committee to hear the views of the legal sector on why prosecution rates for rape are so low, and the likely impact of the Government’s end-to-end rape review. It will also look at the impact of wider issues in the criminal justice system and the effect this has on complainants and defendants.

Following the appointment of Yvette Cooper MP as Shadow Home Secretary, the session will be chaired by Tim Laughton MP.

Further information

Image: MoJ