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Government chooses Rape Crisis England and Wales to operate new helpline

The government has chosen Rape Crisis England and Wales ('RCEW')  to be the operator of a new 24/7 Rape Support Helpline. The helpline is a key pledge within the government's Rape Review Action Plan which aims to reduce the number of victims of rape withdrawing from the court process, increase the number of trials being heard, protect the public and put more rapists behind bars.

This comes alongside the recent announcement that the government's scheme to allow victims of rape to give pre-recorded evidence, rather than face distressing cross-examination in the courtroom, is being rolled out to 12 further courts with a view to nationwide implementation by September 2022.

New statistics were also published regarding rape convictions and trials for rape:

• Rape convictions are increasing -  there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of people convicted for rape offences in the last three months. There were 467 convictions last quarter (October to December 2021), compared to 407, 398 and 376 in the quarters before.

• Total completed prosecutions for rape cases have increased by 10 percent from 600 (July – September 2021) to 661 (October-December 2021).

• The average number of days for adult rape from CPS charge to the case being completed continued to fall, down by 38 days (8.3 percent) since the peak in June 2021 – down from 457 days to 419 in October – December 2021.

For the full announcement, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers

15.05.22