Just under six per cent of rape offences reported to police across Yorkshire end up with a successful conviction at court, latest figures can reveal.
Data released today by the Rape Monitoring Group (RMG) shows there were 5,785 rapes reported to the four Yorkshire police forces in the last 12 months to March 2018.
Of the 5,785 reported rapes, 336 ended up with a successful conviction, the equivalent of just 5.8 per cent.
Across Yorkshire, the figures reveal there were 3,524 reports of rape on females aged 16 and over, 645 reports on females aged under 13, and 998 reports of females aged 14 to 16.
The figures for rapes on males show there were 237 reports of crimes against males aged 16 and over; 293 on males aged 13 and under; and 90 on males aged 14 to 16.
Of the 5,785 reports of rape, there were 479 rape cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Nationally, the number of rape charges has decreased, despite an increase in the amount of rapes reported.
The overall charge rate decreased compared to the previous year, from 6.8 per cent to 4.2 per cent.
The overall number of reported rapes has increased compared to the previous year, from 41,186 to 54,045.
The number of incidents of rape which were not recorded as crimes (the N100 classification) has increased compared to the previous year, from 8,624 to 11,913.
The number of cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision has decreased compared to the previous year from 6,606 to 6,012.
The number of suspects found guilty of rape has decreased compared to the previous year from 1,350 to 1,062.
Victim's Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said the Government needs to "act quickly" in its review of how rape complaints are handled to make sure victims receive "the justice they deserve".
"The criminal justice system is letting down current victims and creating new victims by failing to tackle potential serial rapists," she said.
"Rape victims are being badly let down by the criminal justice system. More complainants are coming forward, but fewer cases are being prosecuted and only one in every 50 cases is resulting in a conviction. How can this be justice?
"These figures show that perpetrators can act without fear of being held to account. Many will go on to commit further offences and will only stop when caught.
"These figures not only highlight how we are letting down existing victims, but how we are creating future victims.
"We know that nearly four in five victims of sexual assault choose not to report the crimes committed against them. How can we ever give these victims the confidence to report when so few cases ever secure a conviction?
"We need to understand the reasons behind this failure. It is in part down to the treatment of complainants by police and prosecutors; for example, failing to update them on investigations or making intrusive and disproportionate demands on their personal data. We also know that the treatment of complainants in the courtroom can cause trauma and distress."
HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams, chair of the group, said: “Rape is one of the most serious crimes dealt with by the criminal justice system. It is therefore vital that information and statistics about rape are made as transparent as possible, so that agencies can refine prevention strategies and give victims the justice they deserve.
“Today’s data gives crucial information about how incidents of rape are processed by the criminal justice system, providing detailed numbers and figures about local areas.
“We hope it will help police, prosecutors, and the entire system, to improve their work to provide justice for victims, convict the guilty and do all they can to prevent this most heinous of crimes.”
The Yorkshire Post looks at the figures for each individual police force:
In the 12 months to 31 March 2018 Humberside Police recorded:
538 rapes of a female aged 16 and over;
102 rapes of a female aged under 13;
132 rapes of a female aged 14–16;
30 rapes of a male aged 16 and over;
42 rapes of a male aged under 13; and
21 rapes of a male aged 14–16.
In this same period, Humberside Police received 101 rape reports that were not recorded as a crime. It transferred 26 rape offences to other police forces and cancelled 59 rape offences.
Over this same period, Humberside Police referred 112 cases of rape to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision. Of those, the CPS charged 63 cases.
During the same year, the CPS successfully convicted 66 cases and brought 49 unsuccessful prosecutions.
The Ministry of Justice reported that 105 rape suspects were proceeded against in this period. Of those, 25 offenders were found guilty.
Detective Superintendent Matt Hutchinson, Unit Head of our Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said: “Every force across the country would like to see more offenders being convicted for rape and sexual offences, and in Humberside we are working tirelessly to achieve this.
“The victim is always our priority, ensuring they receive support and are protected, very closely followed by swiftly bringing the offender to justice.
“I know it can be incredibly difficult for victims to come forward, however I want those affected to know that we are for you. When you are ready to talk, we will listen and we will thoroughly investigate the crime.
“More people are reporting sexual offences every year, an increase which indicates that there is more confidence in coming forward and more victims feel that they will be believed and supported. This is a positive step forward and we continue to do all we can to increase the number of referrals made and charges brought.
“Last year we created a new role within our Protecting Vulnerable People team meaning that we now have a specially trained Detective Inspector in place to provide advice, support and investigative guidance to detectives investigating reports of serious sexual offences and rape.
“She also supports them in building a strong case, ensuring every aspect of an investigation and all available evidence is provided to the Crown Prosecution Service to help secure a successful prosecution.”
North Yorkshire Police
In the 12 months to 31 March 2018 North Yorkshire Police recorded:
344 rapes of a female aged 16 and over;
62 rapes of a female aged under 13;
79 rapes of a female aged 14–16;
28 rapes of a male aged 16 and over;
30 rapes of a male aged under 13; and
18 rapes of a male aged 14–16.
In this same period, North Yorkshire Police received 244 rape reports that were not recorded as a crime. It transferred 7 rape offences to other police forces and cancelled 20 rape offences.
Over this same period, North Yorkshire Police referred 67 cases of rape to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision. Of those, the CPS charged 41 cases.
During the same year, the CPS successfully convicted 31 cases and brought 18 unsuccessful prosecutions.
The Ministry of Justice reported that 52 rape suspects were proceeded against in this period. Of those, 14 offenders were found guilty.
Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, Head of Safeguarding at North Yorkshire Police, said: “The increase in reported rapes to North Yorkshire Police is due to a combination of factors. We know that sexual offences, one of the most traumatic crimes we investigate, are under-reported, so the increase is an indication that victims now have more confidence to come forward, and what is particularly encouraging is the increase in male victims that are coming forward to report what has happened to them. We have also carried out a significant amount of positive work to achieve a more accurate level of crime recording as required by the National Crime Recording Standards and Crime Data Integrity.
“Rape remains one of the most complex crimes to investigate, and although the prosecution figures may appear low, North Yorkshire Police’s prosecution rate is above average.
“In terms of the offences that have not been recorded as a crime, it is important to explain what these refer to. These are third party reports where we have been unable to trace a victim. We will investigate all reports that are made, no matter who has reported it, but in some cases, if we cannot trace a victim, and therefore cannot proceed with a criminal case or provide other support, under Home Office crime recording procedures, the report will not be recorded as a crime.
“We appreciate that telling the police what has happened takes courage. It is not easy reliving such distressing situations. We understand this and have specially trained officers who will guide and support victims through the investigation as well as signposting you to other agencies who can help you further.
“We urge anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter when it happened, to report it to the police. Even if it is not possible to put an offender before the courts, it’s important that you are offered the support and advice that is available. Your information could also help to protect other victims and help the police form a wider picture of offending.”
South Yorkshire Police
In the 12 months to 31 March 2018 South Yorkshire Police recorded:
849 rapes of a female aged 16 and over;
191 rapes of a female aged under 13;
233 rapes of a female aged 14–16;
64 rapes of a male aged 16 and over;
54 rapes of a male aged under 13; and
13 rapes of a male aged 14–16.
In this same period, South Yorkshire Police received 367 rape reports that were not recorded as a crime. It transferred 21 rape offences to other police forces and cancelled 65 rape offences.
Over this same period, South Yorkshire Police referred 113 cases of rape to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision. Of those, the CPS charged 70 cases.
During the same year, the CPS successfully convicted 79 cases and brought 51 unsuccessful prosecutions.
The Ministry of Justice reported that 103 rape suspects were proceeded against in this period. Of those, 31 offenders were found guilty.
Detective Chief Inspector Emma Knight said: “It is encouraging to see that victims feel confident to report rape and other serious sexual offences to us and the increase in those willing to come forward shows victims feel supported and taken seriously here in South Yorkshire.
“Rape is an absolutely vile crime that can have a life-changing impact. We will always work to give victims access to justice through a criminal prosecution. Where that is not possible, we will continue to work with partner organisations to support them.
“Officers from our dedicated Protecting Vulnerable People Units, and across the force, work extremely hard to ensure that victims are offered crisis support and receive the appropriate treatment, counselling and aftercare.
“We work closely with the Children’s and Adult’s Sexual Assault Referral Services to ensure that victims have the opportunity to undergo medical examinations and liaison with specialists. Even if they are not ready to disclose and report offences to the police, it is important that victims know and understand their rights, and every option open to them.
“We meet regularly with local councils, victim support services, the Crown Prosecution Service and representatives from other local organisations such as universities, to provide a holistic, multi-agency approach to the support of victims and the investigation of sexual offences, both recent and non-recent. We work closely to review the impact of legislative changes, to seek feedback from victims and continually to improve performance so that we offer the best possible service and support to victims.
"I would urge anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence to come forward and speak to us. I can assure anyone contacting South Yorkshire Police that they will be treated with compassion, dignity and understanding.
“You can call 101 to report something, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 55511. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to police you can contact the Sheffield Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0330 2230938.”
West Yorkshire Police
In the 12 months to 31 March 2018 West Yorkshire Police recorded:
1,793 rapes of a female aged 16 and over;
290 rapes of a female aged under 13;
554 rapes of a female aged 14–16;
115 rapes of a male aged 16 and over;
167 rapes of a male aged under 13; and
38 rapes of a male aged 14–16.
In this same period, West Yorkshire Police received 283 rape reports that were not recorded as a crime. It transferred 10 rape offences to other police forces and cancelled 137 rape offences.
Over this same period, West Yorkshire Police referred 187 cases of rape to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision. Of those, the CPS charged 131 cases.
During the same year, the CPS successfully convicted 160 cases and brought 83 unsuccessful prosecutions.
The Ministry of Justice reported that 214 rape suspects were proceeded against in this period. Of those, 65 offenders were found guilty.
Superintendent Sareth Humpage of West Yorkshire Police, said “All rape offences are treated extremely seriously by West Yorkshire Police and investigated by specially trained detectives.
“Rape is an abhorrent crime and it is therefore positive that victims are feeling more confident to able to report these offences to the police.
“We work closely with victim services to provide support for individuals throughout the criminal justice journey.
“We acknowledge the significant increase in reports and dealing with this is a priority for the Force.
“There is an ongoing national review to further research the reported increases. We continue to work with partner agencies to strive to improve and achieve the best possible outcome for each victim."