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Policies - Gender bias - Rape policy

CPS issues rape case 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, Harriet Harman.

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.

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