Conservatives accused of ‘unforgivable lack of urgency’ towards rape victims | UK News

The Conservatives are accused of having shown a

The Tories are accused of showing an ‘unforgivable lack of urgency’ to improve support for rape victims (Picture: Getty)

Labor accused the government of showing an ‘unforgivable lack of urgency’ in addressing the needs of rape victims and implementing crucial recommendations made by the Joint Criminal Justice Inspectorate (CJJI).

The party’s analysis shows that several “immediate” recommendations from the CJJI reports have not been acted upon.

CJJI has produced two comprehensive reports, one in July 2021 and the other in February 2022, looking at the treatment of rape victims by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Reports revealed that the criminal justice system was failing to provide a satisfactory level of service to rape victims, pointing to serious shortcomings that required immediate action.

UK Daily Politics 2023

Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry said the current backlog is failing victims of sexual assault (Picture: Getty)

According to the Labor Party, 18 months after the reports were delivered, there has been little or no progress on many of the key recommendations, including six where immediate action was demanded.

These were the collaborative use of bad character apps in rape cases, offering victims the opportunity to make a personal statement, the accurate recording of information about victims’ protected characteristics, the creation of specialized courts in rape offences, consulting on the creation of a Commissioner for Rape and Sexual Offenses, and collecting and publishing data on the use of special measures in rape cases by September 2022.

Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry said: ‘At a time when we have a record backlog of rape cases in our justice system, Ministers should do all they can to support the victims of these attacks and help them deal with the trauma with which they are faced.

“Instead, their response to the Joint Inspectorate’s recommendations shows an inexplicable lack of focus and an unforgivable lack of urgency.

“The Joint Inspectorate said ‘changes are needed now’, but a year and a half later ministers still haven’t lifted a finger on most of their recommendations.

“The fact is that only a change of government will bring the action we need.

“Labour will take immediate action to set up specialist rape courtrooms in every Crown Court in England and Wales, and will work tirelessly towards our mission to halve violence against women and girls.”

Home Secretary Sarah Dines said: ‘Labour has voted against all the tougher sentences we have imposed and Keir Starmer has an appalling record of failing rape victims.

“As Director of Prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service, Starmer oversaw a huge drop in the number of sex offenses prosecuted and Thornberry criticized his ‘backsliding’.

“Conservative governments have increased convictions, increased sentences, reformed our justice system and quadrupled funding to better support victims – ensuring the full force of the law is applied to protect women and girls.”

Ms Dines was referring to a critical letter the Labor MP sent in 2012 to then Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Keir and then Attorney General Dominic Grieve amid changes to the guidelines on specialized lawyers and rape prosecutions.

In the letter, she condemned the government’s decision to “reduce the budget of the prosecution service by 25% during the legislature”, which she said prevented victims from benefiting from the necessary legal support.

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