One-in-five rape prosecutions result in convictions in South Yorkshire

One-in-five rape prosecutions in South Yorkshire result in convictions, new figures reveal.

Thursday, 13th October 2016, 9:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:56 pm
New figures on rape prosecutions and convictions have been released

According to report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, there were 93 prosecutions in South Yorkshire in the last financial year, with 22 resulting in convictions - a 20 per cent success rate.

The report states that 106 suspects were charged with offences last year after 521 adult rapes and 364 child rapes were recorded by South Yorkshire Police.

The year before there were 79 prosecutions, with 42 resulting in convictions.

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In 2013 there were 82 prosecutions and 26 convictions.

The HMIC report stresses that there are a number of reasons why rape cases do not always make it to court.

The report said: "It would be easy to attempt to judge success in managing cases of rape by comparing the number of rapes that were reported to the police with the number of convictions.

"Convictions of the guilty are extremely important outcomes, but convictions are not the only important outcomes for victims of rape.

"There are many possible reasons why a reported rape does not continue to conviction: the police do not record the incident as a crime; the victim does not wish for the case to be taken forward; the CPS advises that no further action be taken; the offence is changed to something other than rape; and, importantly, the defendant is acquitted by a jury following a trial.

"Cases involving sexual offences can often, by their nature, lack corroborating evidence and come down to complex decisions around consent and one person’s word against another.

"The process of preparing for court, and the trials themselves, can be very lengthy and involve levels of scrutiny of the victim not seen for other offences. At any time victims may withdraw from the process for fear of giving evidence in court, fear that the process will be too distressing, fear of being disbelieved or judged, or as a result of delays from start to finish.

"By trying to capture this entire process in a single set of figures, other potential indicators, such as the victim’s experience, are ignored. The context behind each case is important, and ignoring any step of the process can limit public understanding, and risk further damaging victim confidence."

The report added: "A number of survivors have reported non-recent abuse that they were subjected to in their childhoods. In some of these cases they have disclosed not with a view to a prosecution but because they have discovered the perpetrator may now have access to children.

"In cases of this nature, a criminal prosecution may not be the outcome that would necessarily have been sought by the survivor. However, they rightly expect police and other agencies to ensure that the children are safeguarded and that robust measures are taken to deny the perpetrator an opportunity to re-offend."