Chief Prosecutor meets Victims of Rape 'Confront the Taboo'

23/03/2012

Victims of rape and sexual violence and specialists working in the field attended an event yesterday to hear from experts about the issues, the impact and the taboo surrounding rape.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Martin Goldman led a workshop attended by victims and practitioners, to explain the work of the CPS in Achieving Justice for Rape Victims and the aims and impact of the rape scrutiny panels.

The Rape and Sexual Abuse, Confronting the Taboo event, organised by Sheffield Rape Crisis, was attended by 80 people at St Mary's Conference Centre on Bramall Lane.

CCP Martin Goldman said: "Many myths exist around rape and sexual violence so this was a great opportunity for me to address some of those myths and give the truth behind the headlines.

"We know that many victims choose not to come forward and this can be for a number of reasons such as feelings of fear, shame or embarrassment. But for some, the main reason they don't come forward is because they feel they won't be believed and so their attacker will not be brought to justice.

"The criminal justice system has come a long way in recent years but there's still work to be done so I have brought together specialists in this field to scrutinise the work of the CPS in tackling rape. The Rape Scrutiny Panel, which includes representatives from Sheffield Rape Crisis was introduced in December 2011 and will meet twice per year. The panel of ten specialists select and review a sample of files which did not result in a conviction and make recommendations of any lessons to be learned.

"The panel has already made some excellent suggestions focusing on: what we should do when a victim changes their account, communicating with victims with a learning disability and what specialist agencies we should engage to support the victim through the court process.

"This, alongside the feedback I have received today, is crucial to the future success of the CPS in effectively prosecuting such cases.

"I've already asked our senior managers to arrange meetings with the rape specialist lawyers so that feedback from those who took the time to attend and give their contribution today can be shared."

Last year, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside prosecuted 408 people for rape, 261 of those were convicted.

CPS Yorkshire and Humberside is currently 5.4% above the national average in successfully prosecuting rape cases.