Reform needed for rape cases in Scotland


Figures have shown that the amount of prosecutions for rape cases has dropped, and that only a small percentage of complaints end in court action

27th February 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Less than half of rape cases in Scotland result in a conviction, new figures have revealed.

Rape Crisis Scotland has said that only a very a small percentage of alleged attacks reported to police end up being heard in court.

And the charity wants to see a change in the way that cases are considered after the amount of convictions in Scotland was shown to have dropped.

Scottish Government figures reveal that only 39% of the 251 cases taken to court in 2016/17 resulted in a conviction being made, compared to 48.6% for the previous year. In total, 1,878 complaints of rape or attempted rape were made to police.

Sandy Brindley, of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “Rape is a crime which can take a great deal of courage to report, and the past decade has seen increasing numbers of women and men coming forward to report what has happened to them to the police. 

“In a year where there were 1,878 rapes and attempted rapes reported to the police, there were only 98 convictions. The vast majority of reported rapes never make it to court. The most common reason rape survivors are given for this is the requirement in Scotland for corroboration. This disproportionately affects rape cases, and we believe that the time has come to look again at removing the requirement for corroboration.”

Brindley added that more has to be done to ensure that juries in rape cases make their decisions based on evidence, rather than misunderstanding victims’ reactions.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "While the relatively low conviction rate for rape reflects, in part, the challenging evidential requirements to prove this crime, the government will continue to seek to strengthen the law where possible, and how such cases are dealt with.

"Since last April judges are required to direct juries in certain sexual offence cases on how to consider evidence - specifically explaining why a victim may not physically resist their attacker, nor report an offence immediately.”