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Rape conviction rate falls despite increase in cases

27 Feb 2018

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The rate of convictions for rape and attempted rape have fallen, even though more cases have been brought to court.

Figures released today by the Scottish Government revealed that 59 per cent of people accused of those crimes in 2016/17 were acquitted, the highest rate of all offences.

Despite the 16 per cent rise in cases, there was a seven per cent reduction in convictions.

That means 149 people of the 251 proceeded against were not convicted.

The report also revealed the average length of sentence for those guilty of rape and attempted rape had decreased from 2572 days to 2462 days.

The annual statistics showed a general decrease in court activity of around eight per cent.

In addition, the new practice of recorded police warnings – which means court can be avoided – was used on nearly 20,000 occasions.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said:

“It is concerning that the ratio of rape and attempted rape cases to convictions seems to be going in the wrong direction.

“It’s well-documented how hard it is for such a conviction to be secured in court.

“But this trend is going to make it even harder to convince people to come forward to the relevant authorities when a rape or sexual assault has taken place.

“It’s clear more work has to be done across the board to achieve better conviction rates, particularly for the sake of victims, and to send out a message to those who think they can get away with this sort of thing.”