13 October 2016
Dorset Police have welcomed the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) Rape Monitoring Group Report which was published today, Thursday 13 October 2016.
The HMIC Rape Monitoring Group report inspects the national response to the rape of adults and children, and provides an analysis of how rape is dealt with locally in Dorset, so that work can be implemented to continue to improve such an important area of policing.
The report covers three stages of the criminal justice process for rape: the report of an incident to the police and the subsequent investigation; the referral of the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision and preparation for prosecution; and the trial and its eventual outcome.
The report recognises that there has been an increase in the reports of rape nationally, which has also been reflected in Dorset. The rise demonstrates the growing public confidence in reporting such sensitive crimes, as well as an increase in reports of non-recent rapes following the publicity of high profile historical abuse cases.
Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Mark Cooper said: “Dorset Police works closely with our partners and other agencies to encourage reporting through awareness raising campaigns, and by speaking directly to survivors of rape and serious sexual offences.
“In addition, the Force has invested effort in raising awareness of rape and sexual offences with our staff and officers to ensure a culture where victims are believed and investigations are conducted without fear or favour.”
In line with increased reporting numbers, another finding of the report is that police referrals of rape cases to the CPS for charging decisions have increased. Conversely, charging has decreased but the report also identifies that rape prosecution and conviction rates in Dorset have increased between 2015 and 2016, demonstrating that those cases which go to court are having more successful outcomes.
ACC Mark Cooper continues: “Supporting victims of rape is not only an outcome focused process and Dorset Police takes a victim centred approach to rape and serious sexual offences. We acknowledge that working with our partners and victims is key in supporting each victim’s long term recovery.
“We work closely with the CPS, who also oversee charging decisions for the Hampshire and Wiltshire areas. We constantly strive to make improvements and have a joint action plan in place, along with combined training of staff and officers for both organisations and regular meetings with the head of the CPS Serious Sexual Offences Unit.”
Dorset Police has specially trained officers who are dedicated to investigating rape and serious sexual offences. They undergo training to improve their skills in dealing with rape reports, including rape and serious sexual offences within a domestic abuse scenario. Recent figures for the first quarter of this year showed that out of all UK forces, Dorset achieved the highest domestic abuse conviction rate in magistrate courts, at 87 per cent, reinforcing the Force’s dedication to protecting vulnerable people.
ACC Mark Cooper said: “Although not all rape cases result in prosecutions other processes are put into place to mitigate against any future risks and it is important to recognise that many victims don’t necessarily want to go through the CPS process.
“Often victims want to be listened to and believed so they can begin the recovery process. This is particularly prevalent with many reports of non-recent rape where victims just want to make the police aware to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else, but they don’t wish to proceed their personal case any further. It is important we respect a victim’s wishes and we will continue to ensure a victim focused approach to crimes of such a sensitive nature.”
For further information and support:
If you have experienced sexual violence, or if you know someone who has, there are many organisations that can help. Visit www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp for details, or call Dorset Rape Crisis Support Centre on 01202 308855 or The Shores (Dorset Sexual Assault Referral Centre) on 01202 552056.
In an emergency – if a crime is in progress or life is in danger – please dial 999.
The Shores, Dorset Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)
Telephone: 01202 552056
Dorset Rape Crisis
Telephone: 01202 308855
National Domestic Abuse helpline
Telephone: 0808 2000 247
Perpetrators – For advice about changing behaviour, call the Respect helpline on: 0845 122 8609.
For a list of local and national organisations that can help you, visit: www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp.
For young people experiencing abuse visit: www.disrespectnobody.co.uk for advice and support.
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