Writing for this week's Redditch Standard (July 21st), Rachel said:
“At the beginning of the year, I set out a number of priorities, and one of them was tackling violence against women and girls. I’m pleased to say we’re making progress to improve the criminal justice system response to rape.
Two years on from the landmark End to End Rape Review, Government reforms are delivering real change. I worked on this as a minister in both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. So many people have dedicated huge time and effort and I want to pay tribute to the brilliant police officers I worked with.
Having spoken to and worked with victims and survivors of rape, sexual abuse and domestic abuse, we know that their experience of the police and courts hugely influences whether they have the support to bring a case and see guilty perpetrators punished. Operation Soteria changes how victims are treated, and it is making a huge impact.
The progress we’ve seen in the past two years includes adult rape cases referred by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service continue to increase, with 1,079 total police referrals in the fourth quarter of 2022, exceeding our ambition of 766 and up by 134% from the quarterly average in 2019.
Adult rape cases charged by the CPS have also been increasing, with 472 suspects charged between October and December 2022, close to our target of 538 and nearly double the quarterly average in 2019.
And despite the barristers’ strike impacting court action in 2022, adult rape prosecutions continue to rise, up 44% in the last calendar year, almost double what was achieved during 2019, and higher than the volume achieved under the last Labour government in 2010.
We’re making progress, but there is still more to do. We want to increase public confidence in the system we are rebuilding, and we want victims to feel empowered and come forward.
This is a top priority for me and this Government and we are determined to deliver the support and access to justice that survivors deserve.”