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Working to end sexual violence

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Not Proven: An Update

Miss M drawing

We welcome the independent analysis, released yesterday by the Scottish Government (read it here), on the response to the consultation on The Not Proven Verdict and Related Reforms, and particularly the clear majority support for the removal of the Not Proven verdict.

For most people who have experienced sexual crimes in Scotland the justice system in its current state is, quite simply, not working. The conviction rate for rape and attempted rape remains stubbornly low, the lowest of any crime type, and it has been this way for over a decade. We need action, and we need it now.

Rape Crisis Scotland calls for bold action as conviction rates for rape and attempted rape remain lowest of all crimes for the last ten years.

New figures released by the Scottish Government in June 2022 reveal that rape and attempted rape has had the lowest conviction rate of all crimes each year for the last decade.

In 2021-22, just 51% of rape and attempted rape trials resulted in a conviction, compared to a 91% overall conviction rate. The number of convictions also decreased by 40% from 130 in 2019-20 to just 78 in 2020-21.

New figures show a 96% increase in the level of sexual crime reported to the police in Scotland over the past decade.

New figures released today by the Scottish Government show that:

• The level of reported sexual crime has increased by 96% over the past 10 years.
• In the past year, reported rape and attempted rape has increased by 9% and sexual assault by 29%.
• There has been a 17% increase in threatening to or disclosing intimate images.
• 37% of the sexual crimes recorded by the police in the past year (2021-22) related to a victim under the age of 18.

Response To Conduct Of Brian McConnachie QC

This statement is in response to comments made by Brian McConnachie QC revealed in the Daily Record today.

“This situation and the unacceptable comments directed towards our Chief Executive expose a culture of misogyny amongst some members of the Faculty of Advocates and lay bare an environment where entitled, arrogant attitudes and behaviours are clearly present.

We have engaged in good faith with members of the Faculty to try to find common ground to improve the protections and rights of complainers of sexual crimes. For senior members of the Faculty to discuss our staff in such a sexist and demeaning way is deplorable.

Sexist attitudes like these should have no place within the legal profession. If senior QCs are comfortable conversing about someone they have held a professional external relationship with then this raises serious concerns about how they will behave towards other women they encounter, including women entering the profession, or women that they cross examine in sexual offence cases.

We are calling on the Faculty and other legal professional bodies on Scotland to commit to taking urgent action to address the misogynistic attitudes which clearly exist within the profession.” - Spokesperson for Rape Crisis Scotland

Joint Statement: Not In Our Name

In Scotland we have a proud history of protest, of raising our voices against the injustices that blight our society and speaking truth to power.

We – the undersigned – are proud to work in a country that values compassion and fairness. Though across our communities and sectors we work to achieve different things, today we are united in our opposition to the UK Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill.

We name the Nationality and Borders Bill for what it is: an anti-survivor law, an anti-refugee law, an anti-safety law. It is a gift to abusers and exploiters, and we have no doubt that it will harm survivors of sexual violence, gender-based violence and those who flee persecution. It will harm children and young people, increasingly the victims of forced displacement and exploitation in the world. It will harm all of us and our values.

This anti-survivor law betrays what has gone before.

The UK with many otherstates said never again. We resolved after the horrors of the Holocaust to establish an international legal system to protect the displaced, the persecuted, the refugees who need safety and to rebuild their lives. That is why we have a Refugee Convention. It is for survivors. It has protected millions of the most vulnerable in our world over generations, and that is something we should be proud of.

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