The Truth About Rape In The UK

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
The number of rapes reported to police in England and Wales has doubled in the last five years, but the percentage of those resulting in conviction has dropped, according to new figures.

Police recorded 23,851 instances of adults – mostly women – being raped in 2015-16, up from just 10,160 in 2011-12, data released by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary on behalf of its rape monitoring group showed.

The number of reported rapes has therefore increased by 135% in that period, but worryingly the number of convictions rose by just 11%, The Guardian reported.

There were 2,689 convictions recorded in 2015-16, compared with 2,414 in 2011-12 when the conviction rate was nearly 24%.

This means that while the actual number of convictions has increased in the last five years, the conviction rate has halved compared with the number of recorded allegations.

Police and prosecutors attributed the increase in the number of reported cases to the change of people's attitudes after the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal and the publicity of other high-profile historical cases, reported The Guardian.

The theory is that when more people feel empowered, they are more likely to report sexual attacks because they believe there is no longer a culture of disbelief in the justice system.

“We have always argued you should calculate it [the conviction rate] as a proportion of reports," said Liz Kelly, professor of sexualised violence at London Metropolitan University.

"The vast majority of cases are lost at the investigation stage. If you don’t look at the whole process … then you get a skewed picture … 80% of cases don’t get to prosecution,” she told The Guardian.

The report also found that rape cases take far longer to process than other types of crime: 247 days compared with 171 days for all crown court cases.

Furthermore, crime statisticians believe the true number of rapes is around six times higher than the number reported to police, reported The Guardian – making the proportion of people who do end up being convicted of rape seem even smaller.