30 Jan 2020

Call for inquiry into sharp reduction in criminal charges for rape cases

The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales has said rape victims have a ‘crisis of confidence’ in the justice system – as she called for an inquiry into a sharp reduction in the number of rape cases which lead to criminal charges.

Dame Vera Baird has written to the Attorney General demanding an explanation after the CPS revealed that the number of cases referred to prosecutors for a decision on whether charges should be brought fell by nearly a third in the 12 months to September 2019.

Cases resulting in prosecution was also down by 26%. Convictions for rape were down by around 21% in the last year. We spoke to Dame Vera and Max Hill, the Director of Public Prosecutions – and began by asking him how he explained the figures.