Ministers have said they feel “deeply ashamed” of the low conviction rates for rape cases across England and Wales.
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland apologised to victims and promised “to do a lot better”. They also admitted budget cuts were a contributing factor for convictions falling to a record low over recent years.
The government says it now plans to allow victims to pre-record their evidence to save them the trauma of a courtroom trial. There’s to be a refocussing to analyse the suspect’s behaviour – not the accuser’s, and a guarantee that phones taken away for evidence-gathering would be returned within one day.
The review was met with mixed responses, with one rape charity saying it was a missed opportunity and failed to identify any big commitments that ‘would radically and swiftly improve rape victims’ experience.’
Mr Buckland said the report clearly demonstrated that “at all stages of the criminal justice process, there had been a failure to deal with complaints made by many thousands of victims. The first thing I think I need to say is, sorry – it’s not good enough.”