Half of rape victims drop out of cases even if suspect identified

Leaked Cabinet Office report finds justice system fails claimants and lack of resources may impede investigations

Almost half of rape victims are dropping out of investigations, as a growing proportion do not want to pursue a prosecution even when a suspect has been identified, according to a Cabinet Office report leaked to the Guardian.

The figures, which were prepared for a secret internal government review earlier this year, reveal a system in crisis as tens of thousands of women are reluctant to pursue their alleged attackers when faced with invasive disclosure demands, a lower likelihood of securing a conviction and lengthy delays in seeing their case brought to court.

Reported rapes are on the rise. However, police are referring fewer cases to the Crown Prosecution Service, which in turn is prosecuting even fewer cases.

The highly sensitive data was assembled earlier this year by the prime minister’s implementation unit as part of an urgent investigation into the dramatic fall in rape prosecutions in England and Wales. Rape prosecutions are at their lowest level in more than a decade.

The briefing shows senior civil servants acknowledging the way the criminal justice system deals with crimes “is particularly poor for rape” and expressing suspicions – never publicly aired – that problems may be due to lack of resources.

The document, marked as “official – sensitive”, notes: “Police are assigning certain unsuccessful outcomes after shorter investigations than in previous years.” It also says: “The drivers for this are unclear, but it may be indicative of ‘rationing’ of police time and resources to more ‘solvable’ cases.”

While recorded rapes increased by 173% between 2014 and 2018, the police referred 19% fewer cases for charging decisions and CPS decisions to prosecute fell by 44% in the same period.

One of the most concerning changes is the growing proportion of cases resulting in “outcome 16”, whereby a suspect has been identified after a police investigation but the victim does not support further action. The document reveals that from 2015 to 2018, the proportion of cases dropped owing to an outcome 16 rose from 33% to 48%.

Last year, more than 20,000 women – an average of one every 30 minutes – decided not to proceed with a rape investigation, even when the suspect had been identified.

Campaigners believe the sharp rise may reflect victims being discouraged from pursuing complaints because they face disclosure of their intimate, private life through requests for the contents of their phones and laptops. The sheer length of time from offence to completion at court, which has increased by 37% to an average of two years since 2014, may be deterring others.

Part of a longer article at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/10/half-of-victims-drop-out-of-cases-even-after-suspect-is-identified

November 17, 2019

Women charity CEOs and online trolling – Social CEOs Survey Results

Having been approached by a number of female charity CEOs who had experienced trolling, Social CEOs and ACEVO decided to undertake a joint survey to obtain initial findings into the experience of these women. We are very grateful to them for sharing their stories.

We learned that:

  • Respondents have experienced comments about the organisation and its leaders, inappropriate behaviour and personal, targeted attacks.
  • Trolling  affects CEOs of both small and large charities
  • 11% of respondents say trolling had a major impact on their charity
  • Respondents told us that their experiences had led to limiting what they say and do online, feelings of isolation from friends and family, and a negative impact on their mental health such as stress and anxiety and feeling personally attacked.

This report is intended to start the conversation about trolling in the sector. Respondents have made suggestions about the support they would like and Charity Digital Trust will be organising a roundtable to help define next steps in more detail.

What we did 

Through conversations with charity leaders we became aware that a number of civil society leaders had experienced and been affected by trolling.  In initial conversations we spoke with men and women that have experienced trolling, and ACEVO has previously produced a briefing for its members on this subject.  However it became apparent in these initial conversations that women often experience particularly challenging trolling, which can include misogynistic abuse.

The online abuse of women in public facing roles, especially MPs, has been the subject of a lot of recent discussion.  In order to explore this further we decided to undertake research into the experiences of female civil society CEOS. The purpose of the research was to shine a light on what had happened to them, to find out what that tells us about the support they need, how they’d like things to change on social media and how the sector could support them.

  • “Lots of requests to ‘follow’ from men on linked in and twitter. These might be algorithms- not sure but it is unpleasant.”
  • Specific DMs from men on twitter…..with photos or sleazy introductions of themselves.”
  • “On Twitter, when I use the hashtag feminism, or when I talk about why it is important to empower women, I get random tweets attacking me and my ideological position. There have been quite a few and I have just chosen to ignore.
  • “In one specific case however, I had a male volunteer who had questionable behaviour, and I dismissed him (I had consulted a lawyer and we dismissed him within reasonable grounds). He kept messaging me on Facebook and even though I blocked him, he found other ways to contact me e.g. email, WhatsApp, etc. It was causing me a lot of stress and I worried that he would know my location and keep track of me in person. It fizzled out after a week but it caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety. From then on I was also more cautious of establishing one to one contact with male volunteers.”
  • “An anonymous person started sending frequent and abusive tweets to me and a few other people blaming us, particularly me, for child deaths. This was tangentially related to a job I left over a year ago. Other anonymous accounts joined in but I suspect they were the same person. When it started to make me feel scared I blocked them. But didn’t want to as I felt I should be aware of what was being said.”
  • “Trolling was instigated by a well known personality who should have known better, and led to personal abuse and death threats. It was a tiny organisation without the resources or experience to cope with this. It left me (as CEO) feeling suicidal, as the only way to end it.”

The summarised responses can be read via https://www.socialceos.org/our-survey-on-trolling-in-the-charity-sector-with-acevo/

November 17, 2019

Cost of delivering childcare places increases 20% – Early Learning Alliance

The cost of delivering a funded childcare place has increased 20% since 2018, according to statistics released by the Department for Education (DfE).

The figures come shortly after the DfE revealed that it would increasing the early years funding rates paid to local authorities by just 2% in 2020/21 – and it is not yet clear how this will be passed on to providers.

The Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers 2019 shows that the average annual cost of delivering childcare for private and voluntary group providers was £240,333. This is a 20% increase on the previous year’s average cost of £199,708.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the early years alliance, said: “These figures show just how woefully inadequate the recently-announced increase in early years funding truly is. With ongoing increases in the national living and minimum wages, the cost of running a childcare business has increased hugely over recent years, and yet government investment into the sector has completely failed to keep up.

“With plans to both increase statutory wage requirements and expand so-called ‘free childcare’ offers being mooted by various political parties, it’s clear that, whoever is successful at next month’s general election, a significant increase in childcare funding will be needed if the early years is to remain viable and sustainable.

“We urge every political party to include a commitment to ensure adequate investment into the sector in their election manifesto. With the sector already facing a funding shortfall of £662m, and hundreds of providers closing every month, we cannot allow the current situation to continue.”

Find out more


See also:

More than 500 childcare providers closing each month https://www.eyalliance.org.uk/news/2019/10/more-500-childcare-providers-closing-each-month

November 17, 2019

Resettlement Worker, Women’s Through-Care Team

Contract Type: Permanent

Application deadline: Saturday, 30 November, 2019 - 00:00

Based: Durham

Fixed Salary £22,610

Employer: Changing Lives

Resettlement Worker, Women’s Through-Care Team        

Based at HMP/YOI Low Newton and working across Durham and Tees Valley 

2 Posts - 1 x 37 hours per week (permanent) please quote post ref CH012

               1 x 18.5 hours per week (permanent) please quore post ref CH008

£22,610 per annum (£11,305 pro rata)

November 15, 2019