Refuge statement on government Rape Review
Refuge welcomes the government’s apology for systemic failings on rape, and stands with our sector partners who are leading the response to the end-to-end rape review and continuing to hold the government to account.
While Refuge welcomes the publication of this rape review, delayed since 2019, and the government’s apology for systemic failings on rape, we remain concerned that this review does not include sufficiently ambitious or timely plans to improve investigations, prosecutions and convictions for rape and sexual assault.
The statistics in the review should provide a sharp wake-up call – and, while an apology from the government is welcome, that will be little consolation to the women who have been failed – like the many victims whose cases have not been progressed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). These latest statistics show that only 1.4% of cases reported to the police result in a CPS charge and convictions are at their lowest level since 2007. What sort of message does this send to victims of rape? That they have a 1.4% chance of even having the opportunity to access justice? Is it any surprise that 41% of victims chose to withdraw support for their case?
Refuge calls for a total overhaul of the rape criminal justice system – both the police and the CPS – we cannot accept such monumental failings any more. Enough is enough. The government must also urgently provide adequate sustainable funding for specialist rape services which have been seriously eroded these last few years. The government’s response to rape must become a number one priority.
Refuge is the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic services and supports more than 7,000 women and children on any given day. Refuge also runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.
Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit http://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/ to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.