The British government apologized on Friday for having "
" for years "
" of rape victims, saying it was "
" that the number of convictions of sexual assailants and rapists is at an all-time low and promising to remedy the situation.
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According to the latest figures from the prosecutor's office, 1,439 suspects were convicted of rape or sexual assault last year in England and Wales, the lowest level on record since this data was collected. This is also a decrease of 1,925 convictions from the previous year, even as complaints of rape against adults have almost doubled since 2015-2016.
These are trends we are deeply ashamed of.
Rape victims have been left behind
thousands of victims have remained without justice,
"Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Minister Robert Buckland said, concluding a report aimed at improving the situation.
The current situation is totally unacceptable and the government is determined to change it: we owe it to every victim and are extremely sorry that the system has come to this,
" he added.
Get out of the obsession with the victim's credibility
The report proposes a series of measures aimed at reducing the number of indictments and cases brought before the courts to their 2016 levels by the legislative elections of 2024. Among the measures, a pilot project aimed at reducing cross-examinations victims in court - preferring pre-recorded interviews - and recognition at the national level that information about the victim should only be used for the investigation if they are relevant. Robert Buckland wants to move away from "
the obsessive emphasis on the credibility of the victim
", the report claiming instead to focus on the past of the suspect, in order to "
ensure that decision-making is based on evidence, rather than subjective judgments about the victim's credibility
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Associations and activists have generally welcomed the apology, but are concerned to see "
if what has been announced today will be enough
", told a spokeswoman for Rape Grisis England and Wales, in the face of the "
" of taking charge of these crimes. “
Some elements of the report are encouraging, but it is difficult to identify major commitments that will radically and quickly improve the experience that victims have of the justice system,
” added another spokesperson. In the UK, authorities estimate that 128,000 people are victims of rape or attempted rape each year, but only 3% of reported cases resulted in a charge in 2019-2020. A figure which rose to 13% in 2015-2016.