Many women may be failing to report rape because of a lack of faith in the legal system as well as concerns that they will not be supported through the process, from the initial reporting of a rape to police, right through to court proceedings.
That’s according to a study released today by Reveal and supported by Rape Crisis which surveyed women in the UK on the topic.
The survey saw 16% of those surveyed say they have had sex against their will either with someone they know or a stranger, however 78% of those did not report it to the police.
Reasons ranged from being scared about what people would think of them (20%), a third feeling that no one would believe them and almost half because it was someone they know.
However, more than a quarter said they didn’t think there was a strong chance of prosecution, while almost one in five didn’t think there was enough support from the legal system to get them through it.
Latest figures from the Ministry of Justice, The Home Office and ONS show that there were an estimated 60,000-95,000 incidences of rape on average in the last three years, of those only 15,670 were reported to police, only 2,910 rape cases went to court, with only 1,070 rape cases resulting in prosecution.
However, 86% of those surveyed believe that if there were more independent female advisors to guide and support rape survivors from beginning to end more women would come forward.
Also of concern was the fact that 31% of women believe there are varying degrees of rape. A third don’t believe it is rape if a woman doesn’t fight back, while more than a quarter don’t believe it is if a woman is drunk and almost 60% if a woman doesn’t say no.
As part of the campaign Reveal are calling on the government to appoint more funding for ISVAs (Independent Sexual Violence Advisors) who support rape victims through the justice system. To sign the petition please click here.