A 1 in 70 chance

Rape is basically not a crime except in very rare cases.

The number of people prosecuted and convicted for rape has fallen to the lowest level since records began, prompting outrage and concern from campaigners, who say the crime is being decriminalised.

People? They mean men. Women can’t rape. It’s men who are being allowed to rape with impunity, not people.

Prosecutions and convictions more than halved in three years while rapes increased. Fewer rape cases were referred by police and in turn the Crown Prosecution Service took an even smaller number of those cases to court.

Police recorded 55,130 rapes but there were only 2,102 prosecutions and 1,439 convictions in England and Wales in 2019-20. Three years earlier, 41,616 rapes were recorded, a third less than currently, and there were 5,190 prosecutions and 2,991 convictions.

Sarah Green, the director of the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition, said: “Today’s figures show starkly that we are right to say rape has been effectively decriminalised. What else can you call a 1 in 70 chance of prosecution?

“The DPP’s constant exhortation to victims that they must come forward is frankly too much to take. How can he say that in any sincerity when the outcomes are so disastrous and when he is casting doubt on previous prosecutions?”

Thursday’s figures also show the highest conviction rate on record, at 68.5%. The data prompted critics to argue that the high conviction rate is a clear result of a covert policy change in how rape cases are treated.

In other words they’ve become more risk-averse: they’re upping their conviction rate by prosecuting fewer cases. If the result is that rapists feel pretty confident that they’ll get away with it, well, that’s just the price someone has to pay.

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