A piece by Richard Ford in today’s Times, with a nonsensical headline (above), and packed with feminist propaganda (in bold):
Rape has become “effectively decriminalised”, campaigners say, after figures showed that prosecutions and convictions are at their lowest in a decade despite a record number of complaints.
The Crown Prosecution Service has ordered a review of how it handles rape cases after its annual report showed a record 58,000 number of rapes being recorded by police but only 1,925 convictions in the year to March, a fall of 27 per cent on the previous year.
The report Violence against Women and Girls showed that the number of rape allegations that ended in a conviction was about 3 per cent. Max Hill, QC, head of the CPS, has ordered a review into the organisation’s rape charging decisions amid claims from campaigners that it has changed its approach to handling cases.
The End Violence Against Women coalition, which is among those looking to take legal action against the CPS, said today: “These numbers represent real women subjected to rape, a crime which does enormous harm, who are then further victimised by a system that does not take them seriously.
“These shocking and unjustifiable failings speak to a clear and concerted shift in how the CPS has decided to prosecute rape. Leadership across the CPS needs to answer for these figures which we say can only represent what is becoming the effective decriminalisation of rape.”
The organisation Rape Crisis said that a “complete overhaul” of the criminal justice system was “more essential and urgent than ever”.
Mr Hill said: “Rape is an awful, sickening offence and I completely understand why the fall in charging rates is so concerning. Partners across the criminal justice system are coming together to look at how these cases are handled and the CPS is playing its part by opening up our charging decisions to further scrutiny.
“I have every confidence in the work of our dedicated prosecutors but it is important that the public has confidence too.”
He said the CPS inspectorate would carry out the inquiry into charging decisions “to increase accountability and reassure victims of sexual offences”. He denied that the organisation had changed its approach to the handling of rape cases, adding that fewer cases were being referred to it by police.
Despite the increase in the number of alleged rapes recorded by police in England and Wales, the CPS has seen a reduction in the number it decides to charge every year since 2015-16. This slipped from 3,910 in 2015-16, to 3,671 the next year, 2,822 in 2017-18 and 1,758 in the year to March 2019.
The number of rape suspects referred by the police to the CPS for a charging decision declined from 4,370 in 2017-18 to 3,375 in 2018-19 — a drop of 22.8 per cent.
Prosecutors blamed the fall in rape charges on delays caused by the amount of digital evidence that has to be gathered and examined and a rise in the number of consultations between police and prosecutors before a charge is made. A nationwide shortage of detectives has also left police struggling to deal with the quantity of digital evidence generated in many rape cases.
The End Violence Against Women group has claimed that CPS lawyers have changed their approach by no longer building cases but screening rape cases out if they think a jury will not convict.
A group of women’s organisations is preparing legal action against the CPS over claims that cases are being dropped without good reason.
Harriet Wistrich, a lawyer and founder of the Centre for Women’s Justice, [J4MB: Julie Bindel’s partner] said that the CPS explanation for the drop in numbers could not account for “the magnitude of statistical change” over the past two years.
Andrea Simon, of End Violence Against Women, said: “The failure to prosecute rape sends a clear message not only about disregarding justice for survivors, but also signals to rapists that they are safe to continue offending, knowing the likelihood they will be held to account is minuscule. Is this the type of society we want to live in? Is this deemed acceptable by our leaders?”
“Making excuses about digital disclosure, when we know that scrutiny of a complainant’s digital — and non-digital — life are being conducted routinely and out of all proportion in a fashion which we say scrutinises complainant credibility in a wholly exceptional way, is frankly shameful.”
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