Reclaim the Night aim # 3
Improve justice systems and increase the conviction rate of rapists
National criminal justice agencies need to tackle underlying problems in prosecuting rape cases. The national average is only 5.7% and declining. In Avon and Somerset is is 4.2%. In no other crime is the victim subject to so much scrutiny at trial, where the most likely defense is that the victim consented to the crime. The Home Office recognises a “justice gap” in the reporting and conviction of rapes and we need a review of judicial systems and education of judges to address this failure in our courts.
Bristol Fawcett worked with the Safer Bristol partnership, police, health and other partners to launch The Bridge, Bristol’s SARC (sexual assault referral centre) which opened on 20th Feb. This excellent service will not only help women, men and children to recover from sexual violence, but will help them get justice by collecting forensic evidence and supporting the reporting of rape. Bristol's Strategy to tackle Rape and Sexual Assault aims to help those who report sexual assault by providing better victim care so that convictions are increased and the attrition rates reduced. In Bristol we should be very proud that commitments are being made to increase conviction rates, but we need to ensure that the Strategy is fully supported and delivered and look at the national underlying problems.
Please support the Fawcett Society's Justice for rape Victims campaign by writing to your MP. A template letter can be downloaded below and you can locate your MP by using TheyWorkForYou.com. The letter also asks MPs to sign Early Day Motion number 765, "Campaign for Justice for Victims of Rape". So far this has been signed by Stephen Williams, let's get the other Bristol MPs to sign up!