Support Groups' Concern over Rape Crime Figures

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), January 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

Support Groups' Concern over Rape Crime Figures


OUT of 212 recorded rapes on Merseyside in 2000, only 68 people were charged and nine convicted, according to new Home Office statistics.

The figures came as a blow to support groups who said a bleak picture is being painted for victims. They suggested police and courts should re-examine their treatment of sex attack cases.

In Cheshire, there were 83 recorded rapes, 33 people were proceeded against, and 13 convicted. In Lancashire, there were 172 recorded rapes, 73 people charged and 15 convicted.

Merseyside Police are still actively investigating many of the attacks in their area.

Cathy Barnicle, area development officer for Merseyside victim support, said: "These figures are absolutely shocking.

"Low conviction rates send a very negative message to women who have suffered a rape or sexual attack.

"The whole criminal justice system needs to be looked at, from how evidence is collected to how it is presented to juries.

"We have an adversary system where barristers fight to put doubt in the mind of the jury. Despite the evidence, even if there is the slightest doubt, juries will not convict because if found guilty offenders can get up to seven years.

"I fear these sort of statistics will put women off reporting attacks. …

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