In the Media

The DPP Keir Starmer QC, spoke to Victoria Derbyshire on Radio 5 Live this morning about prosecutions for offences of violence against women.

PUBLISHED November 22, 2011

Here are a few extracts of what he said: Commenting on the increase in successful prosecutions for offences of violence against women and girls, the DPP, Keir Starmer said: ?In the last five years we?ve done a lot of work in relation to violence against women. We?ve issued a lot of new guidance. We?ve specially trained our prosecutors and we?ve worked with the Police and others to try and make sure that we can bring these cases more successfully. So those figures are pleasing in that there is that increase. ?I add this caveat, I, don?t want to complacent here, I think there is more that we need to do and this is an area where people have to have confidence to come forward. So I?m pleased with the figures. They show, I think, that what we?ve done is beginning to pay off.? And discussing the difficulties inherent in prosecuting cases of rape, the DPP said: ?Many victims are vulnerable or in vulnerable situations, that?s often why they?ve been offended against in the first place. There are huge barriers about coming forward. There?s obviously whether people have confidence in the Criminal Justice System but it?s much, much more than that. It is very difficult, having myself spoken to a number of rape victims, for them even to come forward to their family. It?s a very difficult step to take. If they do take that step there are a number of myths and stereotypes that they confront about behaviours which we?ve been trying to deal with but I don?t think we?ve seen the back of yet. ?And typical amongst those are you would have reported this straight away if there had really been a rape. We know that?s not right but that was something which was perpetrated as a perfectly sensible suggestion for many, many years. ?Or, for example, that if you?d really been subjected to a rape you?d probably have injuries. Again that?s not actually right but these have been there for a very, very long time along with other stereotypes such as if you?ve been out drinking and you?ve been enjoying the night that somehow you?ve foregone your right not be raped. ?So I can see why, if you put all of that together, it is very difficult and, not least is the fact that in some but not all of these cases, in the end the issue is consent and that often means it?s for a jury to determine what happened in private between two individuals when there may not be much supporting evidence either way. ?That doesn?t happen in many offences ? there are not many offences where consent is the issue. So I think for all those reasons it is difficult to get the figures for rape in the same place as they are for other offences but we are heading in the right direction and I think with more work we can bring more successful prosecutions.? To read the press release and full report on the latest statistics on offences of violence against women go to the CPS website.