A domestic abuse charity in Salford has called on the Crown Prosecution Service to change rape trials are dealt with.
Jane Gregory, Project Manager of Salford Survivor, has said the CPS should change the requirements for bringing rape cases to trial.
Ms Gregory said: “First of all the statistics do not show the overall conviction rates for rape. That’s not the case – it’s getting it to court in the first place.
“CPS throw out the majority of cases because they’ve got to prove it. Maybe we should look at the ways CPS categorize and choose which cases go forward for the rape trial.”
Her comments come after the results of a YouGov survey on sexual assault were released. The study showed some common misconceptions around rape.
The Crown Prosecution Service released a document which laid out how they prosecute in rape trials.
This document states that: “We will only charge where there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to pursue the case.”
Over 6,000 suspects were referred to the CPS for rape in 2016–17 and just over half were charged.
The survey found many areas of confusion around rape.
A third of Brits think that it isn’t rape if a woman is pressured into having sex without physical violence.
Additionally, almost a quarter think that sex without consent in long-term relationships is usually not rape.
The End Violence Against Women Coalition commissioned the YouGov survey, which collected information from 4000 people in Great Britain. They aimed to examine why rape is still so difficult to tackle, even though reports to police are increasing.
The report found that there is a generational divide between over-65s and 16-to-24 year olds.
Over a third of over-65s think that it isn’t rape to have non-consenting sex with your wife or partner. Meanwhile, only 16% of 16-to-24s believe this.
42% in the older age group think that if a woman changes her mind but the sex continues, it isn’t rape. This contrasts with just 22% of those aged between 25 and 49.
Concern has therefore risen that the adults who make up a jury for rape trials may be unclear as to the definition of the crime.
Many people have expressed this concern on social media and are calling to abolish juries for rape cases:
Yet another reason (if you need one) to abolish juries for rape cases: ‘@YouGov survey shows a quarter of adults think martial sex without consent is not rape.’
How can we judge rape cases with such an alarmingly low understanding of consent in society?https://t.co/Hr8xr9nOA6
— David Challen (@David_Challen) December 6, 2018
When asked how she felt about abolishing juries in rape trials, Jane Gregory said: “Everyone has a right to a juror so that would completely change everything just for one offence.”
Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition said: “This research shows that confusion and myths about rape are still very common, and this could explain why it’s hard for juries to make fair decisions if they don’t understand or agree with our laws on rape.
“It also shows that victims won’t necessarily be given the support they need from their family and friends, if the rape they experience isn’t understood as harmful or even as rape.”
If you are affected by rape or sexual assault, you can contact one of the local services shown on the map below.