Investigating and prosecuting rape must be a top priority

In the last ten years, the number of reported rapes in London has risen by 68%. For the same period, the number of people charged with rape has increased by just 17%.

These are some of the findings of a recent independent report by Dame Elish Angiolini into the investigation and prosecution of rape in London. They highlight how survivors of sexual violence are so often let down by the system which is meant to be there to protect and assist them.

Rape is one of the most serious and yet misunderstood crimes. Despite the popular perception, it is most commonly perpetrated by someone known to the victim. The report underlines that broad changes need to be implemented, including ensuring that professional attitudes are fully supportive of complainants’ needs. Police and other agencies must be equipped with the necessary expertise to assist victims and give them the confidence to pursue justice.

It is vital that women who have experienced sexual assault and rape are encouraged to come forward. However, the report says, this must be matched with the resources needed to investigate and prosecute cases whilst supporting complainants.

I welcome this report and will continue to follow developments. Combating sexual violence should be a priority for police not just in London but across whole of the UK and the EU.

You can read the full report here.

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