Convictions for rape & violent crimes against women rise

Reuters / Stephen Hird
More people than ever are being convicted of sexual crimes against women, including assault and rape, according to new figures from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

While the rate of conviction fell to 56.9 percent, the number increased to 78,733, a rise of 16.9 percent, the CPS report shows.

There have been over 100,000 prosecutions for violence against women and girls recorded over the past year.

The report also notes more people than ever are being charged with rape, as more historical sex abuse cases get reported and investigated. The CPS attributes the rise to the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations, which has encouraged previously silent women to speak out about their abuse.

The majority of the crimes were perpetrated against women, with 59 percent of victims aged between 25 and 59.

However, just under 8 percent of girls were aged 10-13.

National Spokeswoman for Rape Crisis England and Wales, Katie Russell, welcomed the results, but said there was still more work to be done.

READ MORE: Stalking offences up 33% across UK – police figures

It’s clear that some progress has been made towards improving responses to this broad range of devastating crimes.

“At the same time, the report highlights that we still have some distance to travel before all survivors of sexual violence and violence against women and girls receive the justice they want and deserve and there is no room for complacency.”

Convictions for domestic abuse also rose to 68,601, the CPS notes, with last year showing the highest conviction volumes for rape (2,581), sexual offences (7,591), honor-based violence (129) and child abuse (7,469).

End Violence Against Women Coalition acting director Sarah Green said: “The increase in prosecutions shows that more women are seeking justice, with big increases for example in the numbers of rape prosecutions and child sexual abuse prosecutions.

READ MORE: 85 child sex abuses reported each day – NSPCC

“If as a society we really care about ensuring justice for survivors, we should do everything in our power to try to prevent abuse in the first place. This has to start in schools, with compulsory sex and relationships education to give young people the chance to talk about respectful relationships.

“The CPS report includes figures on the alarmingly young age of many defendants in rape prosecutions. This is a call to urgent action.”

It was revealed on Wednesday that stalking crimes in the UK had also increased by 33 percent, according to police figures.

Director of Public Prosecution Alison Saunders said the results of the report were “really good news for the victims of these dreadful crimes”

She added that it was a credit “to the hard work we (the CPS) have done recently to encourage victims to come forward, to work better with the police and ensure specially trained prosecutors bring the right cases to court.

“Where cases meet the code for crown prosecutors, we will not shy away from taking cases forward, even when they are difficult and complex.

“Of course, this additional volume of violence against women and girls brings challenges for prosecutors not only in terms of numbers, but the type of cases we are seeing – prosecutors across England and Wales are telling me that we are seeing more non-recent child sexual abuse cases and more of the particularly complex rape cases coming forward,” she said.