Policies - Gender bias - Rape policy
A new public policy statement on how rape cases are to be
prosecuted was launched last week by the Director of Public
Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald QC, and the Solicitor General,
The policy statement was "designed
to explain to members of the public, and particularly victims
and witnesses of rape offences, how rape prosecutions are
carried out. Its aim is to encourage more rape victims to
come forward and to give them greater confidence in the process".
Ken Macdonald said that the document followed a number of
other public policy statements such as those on domestic violence,
homophobic crime and religious and racially aggravated offences.
"This latest document is designed to show that we take
all allegations of rape seriously, whatever the sex, culture,
race or sexual orientation of the victim," he said.
Harriet Harman said that although the number of rapes reported
to the police had "increased dramatically" over
the years, it was "clear that very many rape victims
still don't go to the police or, if they do, find themselves
unable to go through with the court proceedings in which they
will usually be the most important and essential witness".
"Rape is still less likely to be reported, less likely
to result in a charge and less likely to be prosecuted than
other serious crimes," she said. "That's why this
policy is so important. In showing how seriously the CPS takes
rape allegations, it will encourage victims to come forward
and get the support they need."
The new public statement was put together following the publication
of the report on the Joint Inspection into the Investigation
and Prosecution of Cases involving Allegations of Rape in
April 2002. Since that report, the CPS and police have been
working to improve the way in which such cases are handled
from the time the crime is reported to the police.