New figures released today by the Scottish Government show that almost one in five trials for rape or attempted rape result in a Not Proven verdict.
The figures also show a fall in the number of prosecutions but a slight increase in the number of convictions.
• Almost one in five rape and attempted rape trials result in a not proven verdict.
• 43% of rape and attempted rape trials result in a conviction.
Rape & Attempted Rape
% of cases prosecuted resulting in conviction
% of cases resulting in Not Proven
A major new study by the End Violence Against Women Coalition has found that an alarming number of adults across the UK are unclear about what rape is.
The survey, of 4,000 people, found that:
•A third (33%) of people in Britain think it isn’t usually rape if a woman is pressured into having sex but there is no physical violence •A third of men think if a woman has flirted on a date it generally wouldn’t count as rape, even if she hasn’t explicitly consented to sex (compared with 21% of women) •A third of men also believe a woman can’t change her mind after sex has started •Almost a quarter (24%) think that sex without consent in long-term relationships is usually not rape
A new report released today by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland found that while some progress has been made, there has been little difference in the actual experience of rape survivors since the last report, issued in March 2017, which found that services were unacceptable.
The report found:
· Limited progress has been made in some areas in moving forensic examinations to a healthcare setting, however in some areas rape complainers continue to be examined in police stations
· Many complainers are still being examined by male doctors, despite significant evidence, both from research and direct feedback from complainers, about how distressing this can be
Today sees the publication of a new report,
Interest Litigation in Scotland, which explores why
there is a lack of strategic court action in Scotland and suggests recommendations
to address this.
It suggests key barriers are:
- Poor access to information about court cases;
- Limitations to who can take a case to court;
- Short time-limits for taking cases;
- Inhibitive costs and financial risk;
- A limited culture of using public interest litigation to bring change.
Authors Clan Childlaw, Human Rights Consortium Scotland, Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Shelter Scotland, JustRight Scotland and Rape Crisis Scotland are clear that if we are to see human rights progressed in Scotland, we need more NGOs to be able to pursue strategic cases.
Rape Crisis Scotland and Miss M, the woman at the centre of a recent civil rape case, are today launching a campaign to end the not proven verdict.
Following a not proven verdict in a criminal trial in 2015, Miss M successfully sued Stephen Coxen in the civil courts, in what was the first civil damages action for rape following an unsuccessful criminal prosecution in almost 100 years.
Uniquely, Scotland has three verdicts – guilty, not guilty and not proven. Not guilty and not proven have the same impact – they are both acquittals, and there are no legal consequences for the accused if he/she gets a not proven verdict.