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Evening Standard Comment: Change must follow apology to rape victims

·1-min read
PICTURE POSED BY MODEL. A rape victim waits to be seen by the doctor in the medical room at a specialist rape clinic in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Archive)
PICTURE POSED BY MODEL. A rape victim waits to be seen by the doctor in the medical room at a specialist rape clinic in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Archive)

Change must follow

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has issued an apology over the Government’s dire rape conviction record.

The latest figures from the Crown Prosecution Service for 2019-20 show that 1,439 suspects were convicted of rape or lesser offences in England and Wales last year — the lowest since the record began.

At the same time, while 13 per cent of reported rape cases in 2015-16 ended in a suspect being charged, in 2019-20, this fell to three per cent.

For an apology to mean anything, this must urgently change. For many sexual assault victims, their experience is all too often made worse by their interactions with police and the wider judicial system.

Buckland’s admission that budget cuts were at least partly to blame is shocking. Driving up prosecutions and convictions must be a priority, and that means additional funding must be urgently found.

The rape review is an opportunity for the Government to change things. But the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, has called it an “underwhelming document” and called for a fundamental change regarding the handing over of the complainant’s phone.

Saying sorry matters. The Government cannot defend a system that is not working. What is now needed is action.

Grab those jabs

As all adults over 18 in England are now eligible to book a vaccine, our message to Londoners is to grab a jab on “Super Saturday”.

Thousands of appointments are available at mass vaccination centres across the capital, from West Ham to Chelsea.

Let’s do our bit to ensure London reaches the 100,000 jabs a day target and leave lockdowns behind.

Read More

‘Underwhelming rape apologies won’t cut any ice with the victims’ - Dame Vera Baird

Evening Standard Comment: Change must follow apology to rape victims

Robert Buckland admits budget cuts were factor in low rape conviction rates

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