Convictions for rape: how the Crown Prosecution Service is misleading us


8:51 am - April 25th 2013

by Unity    


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According to the Crown Prosecution Service, rape convictions have hit an all -time high:

The Crown Prosecution Service has today published new figures that show the conviction rate for rape and domestic violence prosecutions increased once again last year.

The statistics show that the conviction rate for rape prosecutions has continued to rise to the highest on record, from 58% in 2007/08 to 63% in 2012/13. CPS recorded data on rape prosecutions includes all cases initially charged and flagged as rape, including those cases where a conviction was obtained for alternative sexual offences or serious offences of homicide or offences against the person.

Ah, but have you noticed the caveat in paragraph 2?

In the parallel universe that bureaucrats inhabit a ‘rape conviction’ is not actually a conviction for rape, it includes any conviction is a case that was initially charged and flagged as a rape, even if the actual rape charge was dropped before the case reached court or the defendant was acquitted of rape but convicted on a lesser offence.

In short, however good the overall conviction rate in these case might now look on paper, the claim that rape convictions have hit an all-time high is bullshit, a point that I made back in March 2012 when they tried the same bullshit arguments.

I’ve pulled together this [hopefully] handy infographic which lays out the truth about rape – from the British Crime Survey estimates for annual prevalence of rape and other serious sexual offences, to the CPS’s own audited figures for outcomes (for cases initiated in 2009).

Starting from a annual baseline of 85,000 completed or attempted serious sexual offences against adult women in England and Wales, plus around 10,500 rapes in which the victim was a female child (i.e. under 16), the criminal justice system delivered just 802 actual rape convictions.

I.e. where a defendant was actually convicted of rape and not a lesser offence, of which over half (415) came by way of a guilty plea and just over half were for offences against children.

In short, in that audited data, less than 400 actual convictions for rape related to offences in which the female victim was aged 16 or over.

rapestatsinfo

Full file here (large 6mb PDF).

Copyright notionally creative commons non-commercial licence, but I can also waive that if the poster’s being used for fund-raising purposes by a non-profit organisation.

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About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Story Filed Under: a) Section ,Blog ,Equality ,Feminism ,Law

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Reader comments


1. Matt Rhodes

Hi, really interesting article. Infographic makes the scale of the issue really clear. Whet software did you use to create it?

2. Shatterface

Have you got graphs for previous years?

The only way to tell if there has been an increase in successful prosecutions is to compare one year with another – or, better still, trends across a number of years.

3. Richard Carey

Good work. Crime figures across the board are subject to massive manipulation and not worth the paper they’re printed on.

Matt:

Illustrator.

Wanted to create an image that could be run out to a commercial printer, if anyone was interested – already got one rape crisis organisation for which I’ll be adding their logo & contact info to the image and creating a pre-flight package (all as a freebie).

Brilliant info graphic, shocking and frustrating story.

At every level things need to improve.

Under the phrase “Justice Denied” appears the phrase “Not Guilty”

What is this blog called again?

Does anyone know what the proportion of convictions versus actual crimes is for other crimes or crime in general?

What conviction rate would represent “success”?

There are going to be a large proportion of cases with reasonable doubt however well the policing and prosecution is handled – without a reasonable estimate of that proportion it’s impossible to say how well or badly the system is doing.

(PS, there’s a typo in the infographic: “Assault by penetration (feamles 16-59)”)

Ah, used wrong jpg – the typo isn’t in the PDF version, or at least it shouldn’t be as I fixed the original file.

If we’re that into crime, what about burglary? I was burgled and no one was ever convicted for that I can tell you. That’s surely as big an issue as rape, certainly affected me more.

11. Shatterface

Seriously, what were the stats for previous years?

If the CPS claim that convictions are at an all time high and you are dismissing this is bullshit you can’t prove your case by simply criticising the current stats – you have to demonstrate that conviction rates were previously higher.

And that means subjecting stats for previous years to the same level of scrutiny.

@ 7 vimothy

Does anyone know what the proportion of convictions versus actual crimes is for other crimes or crime in general?

The simple answer is “no”.

Here in the UK, rape is the only crime where the attrition rate is measured.

In Germany so I am told they measure the attrition rates for all crimes, and it seems that their figures show the attrition rate of rape as being in line with rates for other crimes. Their attrition rate for rape is not dissimilar to ours either.

This is just one of those tricky problems of living in a society where people are considered innocent until proven guilty, and where the police are unable to torture confessions out of suspects.

If a couple of young, fit female PCs were allowed to spend a couple of hours in the cell with short lengths of lead filled hosepipe and a recalcitrant suspect, then I’m sure confessions, and therefore convictions would rise dramatically.

Miserable lefties like Sunny would then start to whine about “yuman rites”.

13. So Much for Subtlety

Starting from a annual baseline of 85,000 completed or attempted serious sexual offences against adult women in England and Wales, plus around 10,500 rapes in which the victim was a female child (i.e. under 16), the criminal justice system delivered just 802 actual rape convictions.

Umm, no. That is not starting from a baseline of about 100,000 rapes and sexual offenses. That is starting from a baseline that assumes that many rapes.

We have a system for proving if rape has actually taken place. It is a Court of Law. Reporting is not the same as actual offenses.

Here in the UK, rape is the only crime where the attrition rate is measured.

That makes it hard to say whether there is something unusual about the prosecution of rape. My priors are that crime is not punished, full stop. A fortiori, rape is not punished. So this result is not surprising from that point of view.

15. Robin Levett

@OP:

Has the world turned upside down; apart from the misspeelign, I agree with SMFS (#13) and disagree with Unity.

16. the a&e charge nurse

[15] so does this imply that rape has not taken place until proven in a court of law?

17. Robin Levett

@a&ecn #16:

so does this imply that rape has not taken place until proven in a court of law?

No; but the fact that a report of rape has been made does not ipso facto mean that a rape has taken place.

There will be a number of false reports of rape; that could be higher than the number of false reports of, say, burglary, since forced entry to premises is more easily distinguishable from consensual entry than non-consensual penetration is physically distinguishable from consensual penetration.

On the other hand, the number of unreported rapes could be higher because of (i) the stigma attached and (ii) the perception that giving evidence is more stressful for rape victims than for burglary victims.

On the third hand, attrition rate for burglary – unlike rape – is massively affected by TICs; IME, far more burglary offences are taken into consideration on sentence than are prosecuted to conviction. They count toward the conviction rate, though, and therefore toward the attrition rate. Other things being equal, therefore, if the attrition rates for the two crimes are the same, then rape is being far more effectively prosecuted.

The fact remains that the only rapes we can be certain of are those prosecuted to conviction in court. The approach taken by Unity in this piece (and others more generally on this blog) that the number of rapes >= the number of reports of rape, and that any deficit of rape convictions by reference to that figure demonstrates a defective if not biased system is flawed.

18. Anne O'Nimmus

@ 10 Dan
“If we’re that into crime, what about burglary? I was burgled and no one was ever convicted for that I can tell you. That’s surely as big an issue as rape, certainly affected me more.”

Are you saying you were raped, but your burglary was more traumatic? That’s a bit sick.

If your home is invaded, your belongings trashed and/or stolen, you can clean up, you can replace, you can even move if you feel unsafe. If your body is invaded, while you might clean up, you cannot replace, you cannot move to another body. Burglary is not as big an issue as rape. It is utterly different and your comment demonstrates you are someone with all the depth of a puddle.

Wake up libs – this is as good as it’s ever going to get.


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  2. [link] Convictions for rape: how the Crown Prosecution Service is misleading us | feimineach.com

    […] In the parallel universe that bureaucrats inhabit a ‘rape conviction’ is not actually a conviction for rape, it includes any conviction is a case that was initially charged and flagged as a rape, even if the actual rape charge was dropped before the case reached court or the defendant was acquitted of rape but convicted on a lesser offence. [ Rest.] […]





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