Jo Swinson has backed calls from the Fawcett Society for more to be done to improve the low conviction rate in UK rape cases and to provide more assistance to victims.
In a motion tabled in parliament, Jo urges the government to take immediate steps to ensure the proper investigation of every case, and to secure funding for rape crisis centres to give women the support they need.
Commenting, Jo said:
‘With a UK-wide conviction rate of 5.7%, falling to 4% in Scotland, our legal system is clearly not doing enough to ensure that women who are attacked are able to see justice served. A fresh look is required at how we can offer more protection to women considering the problems with conclusive evidence that often arise, while still maintaining a fair legal process.
‘We also need to recognise that much more needs to be done beyond legal support for victims. A recent report by the End Violence Against Women Campaign revealed a postcode lottery of support services across the country. It is simply unacceptable that many women are unable to gain access a rape crisis centre. The advice and counselling offered by these services is vital in helping victims overcome their ordeal.
“The UK Government should learn from the successes in Scotland, where provision of support is more equally spread and has been expanded in recent years.”
Full text of Early Day Motion 765:
CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF RAPE
That this House notes that the current conviction rate in rape cases is only 5.7 per cent. with fewer than 20 per cent. of rapes reported to the police leading to a prosecution; further notes that the vast majority of women in the UK do not have access to a rape crisis centre; recognises that up to half of the remaining centres are at risk of closing due to a lack of funding; commends the Fawcett Society for its new campaign for justice for victims of rape; and calls on the Government to take immediate steps to improve criminal justice practice so that every case is properly investigated and to guarantee stable funding for rape crisis centres to ensure that all women in the UK have access to the support that they need.