UK: Rape Cases Resulting in Fewer Convictions, More Cautions
Government figures in the United Kingdom show that the number of offenders cautioned for rape is increasing, as is the number of rape reports, but that convictions are becoming rarer. In 1994, only 19 people received cautions for rape, but in 2004 that number had climbed to 40, a significant number when considered alongside only 791 convictions that year, according to Reuters. A caution can be given by a senior police officer when there is an admission of guilt; the offender is put on the sex offender register, and the caution shows up on his criminal record.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) claims that cautions are given only in rare circumstances, most frequently to juvenile offenders, in cases that date back several decades, or when a victim wants an admission of guilt but does not want to pursue a trial, reports BBC. However, women’s groups are outraged by the increasing number of cautions, and called for more transparency about when cautions were used. Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women’s Aid, told the Times that “it is worrying that cautioning for rape is something that is not discussed, explored or explained. We need to be told the exact circumstances in which cautions are given.”
The news about cautioning comes just a few weeks after an announcement that the government would be exploring changes in the way rape cases are handled in order to raise the conviction rate. Reuters reports that currently, only one in 20 rape cases results in a conviction, as opposed to one in three thirty years ago. Amnesty International UK applauded the government’s effort to improve handling of rape cases, but cautioned that the government should support “an integrated strategy to end all types of violence against women in Britain – including, for instance, prevention through education and public-awareness schemes and better victim support.”
Media Resources: BBC 4/10/06; Reuters 4/10/06; Times 4/10/06; Amnesty International United Kingdom, 3/29/06
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .