From report to court: Rape cases and the Criminal Justice System
- Funder: Northern Rock Foundation
- Lead applicant: Marianne Hester
- Research centre: Gender and Violence Research
This research was commissioned by the Northern Rock Foundation to examine progression of individual cases relating to rape through the criminal justice system, from reporting to conviction, across three police force areas in the North East of England. The study came about due to concerns within the criminal justice sector in the region that little is known about the detailed pattern of progression, attrition or related criminal justice system practice in rape cases. The research found that cases involving the most vulnerable victims, especially those with mental health issues, were least likely to progress to any extent through the criminal justice system. Three quarters of the cases dropped out at the police stage. There were four distinct groups of cases with different progression trajectories: acquaintance, domestic violence, historical and recent family. Domestic violence cases were most likely to result in arrest and historical cases in conviction. Use of a victim-focused approach, alongside a concerted effort to develop a wide range of multi-agency, led to the highest proportion of cases proceeding through to charges, more cases going to court and also a higher rate of convictions.