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Rape trials: Conviction rates lowest for young men

Rape trials: Conviction rates lowest for young men

Less than a third of young men prosecuted for rape in England and Wales last year were found guilty, according to new figures. Prosecutors said the low conviction rate was a "challenge for the entire criminal justice system". Rape allegations tried at court led to 31.6% of men aged 18 to 24 being convicted from 2017-18, the lowest percentage of any age group. For men aged 25 to 59, the conviction rate was 45.6%. The figures were released by the Crown Prosecution Service after Labour MP Ann Coffey submitted a freedom of information request.
She suggested they show how juries treat women - and the impact of false allegations of rape.
'Rape myths'
"The figures may reflect the prevailing attitudes of society and therefore of juries to women, who are often blamed for putting themselves in risky situations," said Ms Coffey, MP for Stockport."There has been a strong media focus on the small number of false allegations of rape and this perpetuates the public perception that lying about rape is common when in fact the opposite is true. "The vast majority of rapes are never reported because many young women fear they will not be believed."
MPs criticise CPS criminal case failures
'It was right to report being raped'
She added there is a "dominance of rape myths in our culture", including "that a woman who has drunk a lot cannot complain if she ends up being raped or that it is only rape if someone has injuries or that most rapes are done by mad axe men in alleyways."In the past five years, young men accounted for more than a quarter of the defendants in rape-only cases according to the figures, first reported in The Guardian.
The CPS said rape and serious sexual offences were "some of the most complex" they deal with
And of the 1,343 rape cases the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has taken against those young men in that time, only 404 led to a conviction - an average of 30%. Sarah Green, co-director of End Violence Against Women, said: "These figures are shocking and, given that very few cases make it to court in the first place, they could be read as showing that there is near impunity in this country for young adult men who commit rape."The CPS said rape and serious sexual offences could be "some of the most complex cases" they deal with. "Addressing the low conviction after contest rate in cases involving young defendants represents a challenge for the entire criminal justice system," a spokesman said.The CPS is taking steps including having early discussions with police before making the decision to charge and providing specialist training for prosecutors on issues of "consent, myths and stereotypes" and cases involving "vulnerable witnesses and young people".
Crown Prosecution Service
Crime
Criminal justice system
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