One in four rape cases reported to Kent Police result in charges, new figures show.
Data released by the Ministry of Justice and Rape Monitoring group show that in 2016-2017, there were 1,569 officially recorded incidents classified as rape in the county.
Data from December 2017 quarterly Criminal Justice System Data release shows that there were 65 rape cases that were eventually taken to crown court and out of these, only around 30 of these prosecutions resulted in a successful conviction.
The total recorded cases of rape by Kent Police Force, as shown in the Police Recorded Crime and Outcomes data for the year 2016-2017, however, was 380.
The number of cases leading to a criminal charge of rape by Kent Police Force was at 91.
This means that only 2% of reported incidents of alleged rape result in a successful conviction and under 10% of investigated reports of rape resulted in a successful conviction in 2016-2017.
‘Incidents of rape’ were introduced by the Ministry of Justice in 2015 to record the total number of incidences given into the police that are initially labelled as rape when reported by a potential victim or third party.
Kent Police Force has a history of irregularities involving their official recorded crime statistics, with 5 officers being arrested in 2012 for corruption when it was found that they were forcing prisoners to confess to undetected crimes in order to meet performance targets.
Nationally, official police data has recently been brought into disrepute. In 2014 when the UK Statistics Authority decided to withdraw their National Statistics Designation Mark of ‘Gold standard’ from any crime data recorded by Police Forces in England and Wales, following a House of Commons inquiry that found them to be an unreliable indicator of true crime statistics.
Lily Dedman of Respect the No, an anti-rape activist group, places the extremely low conviction rates on the issues around common perspectives of rape, where fault is directed towards victims to prove they have been assaulted.
Another primary issue leading to low conviction rates mentioned by Dedman the misunderstanding the majority of rape cases aren’t perpetrated by strangers in public places, but in private spaces familiar to the victim and by a perpetrator known to the victim.
Dr Marian Duggan, a senior lecturer in Criminology and the Director of Studies for the Criminology undergraduate course at the University, stated that what is often used as evidence in rape trials ‘reinforce the social myths about “real rapes” and anything outside of this is harder to prosecute.’
‘the objective of the defence is to discredit the only witness, the victim, which they over do through evidence of the victim’s sexual history and judgements on her character, which can be a very traumatic, length process.’
Dr Duggan also adds that, ‘Rape is a difficult and different crime to prove as for the most part the defendant doesn’t deny that sex happened, but states it was consensual, and proving otherwise is quite hard.’