Rape review is just a start

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CREDIT should be given to the Crown Prosecution Service for undertaking to find out why so many cases of rape fail at the court stage.

South Yorkshire already has one of the best successful prosecution rates for rape in the country, with 69.1 per cent of all cases resulting in a conviction.

But that figure hides a shocking statistic for the number of women rape victims who are let down by the legal system.

It starts with the huge number of women who do not make a report of rape, for a multitude of reasons, a proportion of which is because they do not have faith in the legal system. According to the British Crime Survey 2011, only 11 per cent of the 104,000 rapes committed each year are reported to the police.

The attrition rate for convictions follows on from this, with only 36 per cent of reported cases every getting to court, and then only just over half result in a conviction. And that conviction may well be on a lesser charge due to plea bargaining.

South Yorkshire’s CPS wants to improve the prosecution success rate and has set up a scrutiny review panel to find out why so many cases fail - it is something that should be replicated across the country.

Far too many women victims of rape are being let down by a legal system that is not properly geared up to deal with one of the most challenging of crimes to convict. This is a start - a welcome start - but only a start in addressing that failing.

The right to work without violence

INTIMIDATION in the workplace is an issue we have condemned time and again.

Everyone deserves the right to do their job without fear of attack, but sadly not everyone gets it.

So although we welcome a reduction in violent incidents at our hospitals, we are still saddened that so many physical and verbal attacks occur.

Working in a hospital is stressful enough without worrying about whether you will be physical attacked, racially abused or receive a death threat.

We today reveal nurses, doctors and patients were victim to 873 physical and verbal attacks at Sheffield’s hospitals in the last year, including one stabbing with a needle.

No wonder trade unionists say much more needs to be done to protect staff. And no wonder trusts adopt a ‘zero-tolerance policy’. Let us make sure everything possible is done to create a positive and secure environment, which is free from assault and abuse.