The government has said it wants to reverse a downward trend in rape prosecutions. It is thought this could lead to a greater number of convictions and early guilty pleas.
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The government’s proposals mean it is more important than ever to have an experienced lawyer on your side if you are accused of rape or falsely accused of sexual assault. Contact us now for expert representation. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Decrease in rape prosecutions
Since 2016/17, there has been a sharp decline in the number of rape prosecutions in England and Wales. Government research found the reasons for this are complex and wide-ranging. Some cases suffer from a delay in investigations, others lack specialist resources, while others feature inconsistent victim support. A poor working relationship between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was also identified.
Reverse the trend
The government has said that it wants to reverse this trend and return rape prosecutions back to pre-2016 levels. It has, therefore, devised an action plan designed to increase the volume of cases progressing through the criminal justice system.
As part of this plan, the government says it wishes to change the way rape is investigated. Police will be urged to identify patterns of behaviour that are significant features of rape, and to place proper emphasis on the suspect’s offending history. Rather than making a decision based purely on the victim’s credibility, it should be based on a well-rounded objective assessment of the evidence.
In addition, the government wants to achieve the following outcomes:
- An increase in victim engagement at every stage of the process
- Complex cases should not be deprioritised to get more cases through the system
- For high quality cases to be referred by the police to the CPS
- An increase in public confidence in the decisions made by the CPS
- An increase in early guilty pleas – by improving the quality of investigations an increase in guilty pleas is anticipated
- Improved timeliness of cases at each stage
- Limiting the requests for digital information from victims only to what is necessary and proportionate
- The defendant’s right to a fair trial is maintained through robust and appropriate disclosure
To ensure accountability across the board, the government has said it will publish an update on the progress that has been made every six months. A ‘performance scorecard’ will monitor the progress against key metrics including timeliness, quality and victim engagement in each part of the system.
What does this mean for you?
The criminal justice system will do its best to meet the government’s goals, meaning it is more important than ever to have a legal expert on your side. Without a solicitor, your case could wrongly progress all the way to court. Using our expertise, we can work to get the charges against you dropped in the early stages of the investigation.
If your case does go to court, we will fight on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair trial. While the government is keen to increase the number of rape prosecutions, it is vital that this ambition is not achieved at the expense of justice. We will protect and advance your rights at every turn.
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Have you been accused of rape or sexual assault? Contact us now for a free initial enquiry. We specialise in criminal defence law and represent clients across England and Wales. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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