A fifth of Crown Prosecution cases are alleged sex crimes or domestic abuse. In fact, the proportion compared to all prosecutions has nearly trebled in the last decade.
Alleged sex crimes and domestic abuse offences now account for nearly 20% of cases pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service compared to just under 8% a decade ago.
Prosecutions for sexual offences excluding rape reached a new peak of 13,490 in the latest financial year, while the number of rape prosecutions completed rose from 4,643 in 2015-16 to a record 5,190 in 2016-17.
It’s also worth noting that the successful prosecution rate has increased to around 75%
Why the proportionate rise in prosecutions?
There seems to be at least three main reasons:
Firstly, there’s more reporting of sexual and domestic violence – the rise of prosecutions are in line with a sharp jump in reports of sexual abuse to police seen in recent years in the wake of high-profile investigations launched after the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Secondly, authorities are also mounting increasing numbers of investigations involving the internet, including child sexual abuse, harassment and revenge pornography cases. For example the number of prosecutions sparked by alleged revenge porn – the disclosure of private sexual photographs or films without consent – more than doubled from 206 to 465 in the last year.
Thirdly, new laws have been introduced, criminalising a broader range of offences – for example a new law introduced to clamp down on domestic abusers whose conduct stops short of physical violence, such as those who control their victims through the internet and social media: there have been 309 alleged offences of controlling or coercive behaviour charged since the legislation was introduced at the end of 2015.
HOWEVER, there are some areas where prosecutors could do better:
There were year-on-year falls in prosecutions for “honour-based” violence and forced marriage, the report shows, while there were no prosecutions for female genital mutilation – it’s unlikely that there were no cases of the later in the last year in the UK.
The data above is taken from the CPS’s 10th report on violence against women and girls (Vawg). Cases where victims are men or boys are also covered by the analysis.