More convictions than ever for violence against women in England and Wales, but rape conviction rate falls

Over 78,000 found guilty of sexual offences and domestic violence - but rate of rape convictions falls despite record high number of prosecutions

Tom Brooks-Pollock
Thursday 25 June 2015 12:27
Comments
Despite a decade of reform, prosecutions and convictions of rape has remained consistently low
Despite a decade of reform, prosecutions and convictions of rape has remained consistently low

Convictions for violence against women are at a record high, according to new figures welcomed by campaigners as “significant progress” in confronting domestic abuse.

But a fall in the rape conviction rate has prompted warnings that society still has "some distance to travel" in dealing with the problem.

The number of successful prosecutions went up for 'violence against women and girls' - including sexual offences, child sex abuse and domestic violence - while more people are being charged with rape than ever before, new Crown Prosecution Data show.

The CPS said that 107,104 people were prosecuted for violence against women in 2014-15, up by nearly a fifth on the year before, while 78,773 were found guilty – up by 16.9 per cent on 2013/14.

More historic allegations are being investigated by prosecutors because of heightened public awareness following the Jimmy Savile scandal.

But domestic abuse campaigners also praised the efforts of prosecutors, the police and victims for the drive to secure more convictions for crimes such as rape, where the proportion of people tried and found guilty is traditionally low.

There is still much progress to be made, though: the rape conviction rate actually fell to 56.9pc, despite a record number of convictions, more than 2,500 last year. There were 68,601 convictions for domestic abuse and 7,591 for sexual offences – both also record numbers.

The majority of defendants were aged 25-59 (59 per cent) and 18-24 (21 per cent). A total of 354 defendants were aged 14-17 and 56 were aged 10-13.

One in four women and one in six men experience domestic violence at some point

Katie Russell, national spokeswoman for Rape Crisis England and Wales, said: "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 that there is no room for complacency."

Sarah Green, acting director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, 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.

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

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said: "Today's report demonstrates that significant progress has been made in taking more cases of domestic violence through the criminal justice system. This is positive.

Women protest against domestic violence in Brazil

"This progress must continue until we have a system where women who experience domestic violence have exactly the same level of confidence as victims of other crimes, that they are heard and believed, the system works for them and protects their human right to live free from violence."

The NSPCC described the falling convictions rates for some crimes as “a worrying trend” given that more child abuse cases are coming to court.

Karen Bradley, the minister responsible for tackling domestic abuse, said: "We have made protecting women and girls from violence and supporting victims and survivors of sexual abuse a key priority.

"It is encouraging to see more victims and survivors reporting these terrible crimes and justice being done. I hope that the increase in prosecutions and convictions for domestic violence, sexual offences, honour-based crimes and child abuse will give victims greater confidence to come forward to speak out about despicable offences that have too often been ignored."

Additional reporting by Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in