CPS Says: How we prosecute rape cases


There are a number of stories today about how the CPS makes its decisions about prosecuting rape and sexual offences.

Sexual offences are some of the most complex cases we prosecute and we train our prosecutors to understand victim vulnerabilities and the impact of rape, as well as consent, myths and stereotypes.

Decisions whether or not to prosecute are based on whether our legal tests are met - no other reason - and we always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence to do so.

We understand that the falling charge rates for rape is a cause of concern. However, it is not indicative of a change of approach or lack of commitment to prosecute by the CPS.

There has been no change of approach.

There are however a number of factors which we believe have contributed to this, including a fall in referrals from the police‎ and an increase in cases where the CPS has given the police early investigative advice‎ and where we have asked for further work to be done‎.

We have also seen an increase in the volume of digital data and the analysis of evidence gathered by following reasonable lines of enquiry.‎

Victims have the right to ask for a review of their case by another prosecutor, independent of the original decision-maker, and this is another way we make sure we are fair and transparent in what we do.

The High Court can also consider the lawfulness of the decisions made in individual cases under the Victims Right to Review procedure.

Finally, we are a partner in a cross departmental review of the handling of rape and sexual offences which includes hearing from victim’s groups.

We are looking honestly and openly at how the CPS, police, courts and others can work together to improve the overall handling of these cases.

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