Sarah Champion MP responds to the publication of Crown Prosecution Service’s annual report on Violence Against Women and Girls.
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual Violence, has reacted to the publication of the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) annual Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) report, published today.
The report contains a number of particularly damaging statistics for the Government including charging decisions regarding rape and sexual violence. While the number of VAWG referrals to the CPS from Police fell by 0.7% on last year, the number of suspects charged fell by 3.1% and the number of prosecutions was lower by 5.9%. For rape-flagged cases, there was a 23.1% drop in the number of suspects charged. The dramatic increase in the number of pre-charge decisions being ‘administratively finalised’, from 4.6% to 8.1%, may suggest resourcing problems for collating evidence to meet charging criteria.
The CPS report is published in a bad week for the Government’s VAWG strategy. Earlier this week HM Inspectorate of Probation found in 7 out of 10 cases there is inadequate protections for victims and their children when perpetrators return to the community. Reports in The Guardian showed that less than a third of prosecutions for rape against young men result in convictions. This was compounded by further revelations that senior figures in the CPS have advised prosecutors to take weak cases out of the system to improve conviction rates.
Sarah urged the Government to take immediate steps to secure funding for police, justice and support services so that the faith of victims and survivors can be restored.
Responding to the report, Sarah said:
‘The CPS statistics released today are shameful and serve as a condemnation of the effectiveness of the Government’s VAWG strategy. The Government talk a good game yet all week there’s been a steady flow of bad news about the failures of multiple departments.
‘It is an absolute scandal that there’s been such a dramatic decrease in the number of prosecutions for rape cases. The statistics clearly demonstrate the cuts have taken their toll and the Government can no longer effectively prevent or prosecute violence against women and girls.’
‘It is vital that when women and girls come forward to report a crime they have full confidence in the system. It is the least they deserve, but the statistics released today bring that into question.
‘The Government must restore the faith of victims and survivors by reversing the cuts to police and justice budgets and by putting support services on a statutory footing. Only by doing this will the Government’s policies become meaningful in any sense.’
The CPS VAWG Annual Report for 2017/18 can be found at: https://www.cps.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/publications/cps-vawg-report-2018.pdf