Investigating and Prosecuting Rape Cases

December 17, 2019

There have been some startling statistics set out a CPS Inspectorate report into the prosecution of Rape cases.  The report simply confirms what we already know, that the investigative and prosecution process in Rape cases is broken.  Although the report focuses on the reduction in prosecutions of Rape cases, we should not forget that the defects in investigations and disclosure also pose threats of miscarriages of justice in those Rape cases that are prosecuted.  The case of Liam Allen being a high profile example that we reported last year.

The report’s most significant findings are:

  • Since 2016, the number of Rape cases prosecuted by the CPS has fallen by 52%. This is despite the fact that there has been a 43% rise in the number of rape allegations to the police.
  • There has been a 23% fall in the number of cases referred to the CPS for a decision by the police. This reduction means that while reports of rape to the police have nearly doubled, a significant number of these cases have not been referred to the CPS.

So which cases are actually being prosecuted?  The concerns are that only “easy” cases, where a conviction is likely are the ones being charged – but the report did not agree with that. 

The report did find though, that in relation to Rape cases, the police were not very good at analysing the quality of evidence in a case that would potentially be brought to Court.  In a sample of 250 cases, they only accurately identified the strengths and weaknesses of the case in half of cases.

This has significant implications for defendants being wrongly charged with offences due to inadequate evidence being provided to prosecutors.  Of particular concern, in light of historical miscarriages of justice, is the number of Rape cases in which unused evidence is not properly disclosed to the defence – notwithstanding the fact that it may in fact contain key information pointing to the innocence of a defendant. 

It is important that if you have been arrested or charged with an allegation of Rape, then you need specialist advice.  Get in touch with us at or on our 24 hour line 0845 200 3367 and let us help. We can advise on all aspects of your case.