Rape: Criminal Prosecutions Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate

Lord Thomas of Gresford

Main Page: Lord Thomas of Gresford (Liberal Democrat - Life peer)
Tuesday 28th June 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Lord Bellamy Portrait Lord Bellamy (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I am sure that the question of improved training for the police has an important role to play in dealing with the situation that we are faced with. We are undertaking, in effect, a multitrack approach, which I think has three main aspects: restoring victims’ trust in the system; improving investigations—that is where police training comes in very directly; and improving the procedures in the police, the CPS and the courts. With those three aspects, including increased training for the police, I venture to hope that we shall recover from the present situation.

Lord Thomas of Gresford Portrait Lord Thomas of Gresford (LD)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, 71.2% of the 1,500 cases prosecuted last year resulted in a conviction. However, of the 55,000 complaints, 23,259 victims did not support further action. What causes have the Ministry of Justice identified for nearly half of complainants refusing to support a prosecution?

Lord Bellamy Portrait Lord Bellamy (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

There appears to have been some loss of trust in the system on the part of victims, which we are doing our best to remedy. The very beginning of the programme, as I sought to explain, is about restoring victims’ trust in the system. The importance of independent sexual violence advisers is crucial here. There is evidence that the intervention of such an adviser improves the likelihood of a victim complaining and persevering with the case. There are, as I said, trials of specialist units in three Crown Courts to support victims. We are working with Rape Crisis England and Wales to mobilise the best-quality support service for victims. This month we shall start operating a 24-hour victim support service. This combination of measures on this multitrack approach will, I hope, alleviate the situation to which the noble Lord refers.