Scaremongering over the rape conviction rate


Sharp words in today’s report on rape by Baroness Stern (pictured) over the constant bandying of the claim that only 6 per cent of reported rapes lead to convictions.

This was the subject of a long analysis on Straight Statistics by Robert Whiston last September, and the Stern Review, commissioned by the Home Office and the Government Equalities Office, makes many of the same points.
While for all other crimes the conviction rate describes the percentage of all the cases brought to court that result in a conviction, the report says, rape is different. For rape, the term has come to mean the percentage of all cases recorded by the police as rape that result in a conviction of rape. This makes it impossible to compare rape with other crimes.
The actual conviction rate for rape, measured conventionally, is 58 per cent. More cases should come to court and the review backs the Government’s efforts to achieve that.
But it is very critical of the way the 6 per cent figure has come to dominate public discussion “without explanation, analysis or context”. This has been to the detriment of public understanding and is not in the interest of victims of rape, who may be discouraged from reporting the incident in the belief that there is no chance of a successful conviction, it says. “We feel that the presentation of the statistics should be looked at again and we so recommend” the review concludes.

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