Taking Rape Seriously
The discrepancy between the number of rapes in London and those convicted for rape is huge. Last year the met police recorded 3,312 rapes1 but London courts convicted just 219 people of rape.2 The criminal justice process leaves too many victims feeling ignored or let down.
We need to ensure survivors are supported and taken seriously – not left blaming themselves.
As Mayor, I will focus the system on meeting the needs of rape survivors:
- Working with a range of partner organisations I will lead a public campaign aimed at raising awareness and dispelling common myths about rape based firmly on the principle that anything less than positive and explicit consent, freely given by someone capable of making that decision, must be dealt with as rape.
- I will ensure survivor support groups are represented on the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime advisory board. This will ensure that the Mayor makes the police accountable for the way they treat rape survivors and sets clear procedures for the Met in their dealings with rape survivors.
- I will guarantee funding for the existing level of Rape Crisis Centre provision and work closely with boroughs to ensure joined-up provision across London. Better funded rape support organisations will help support survivors of rape at all stages of the criminal justice system and help to provide guidance, advice and support.
- I will oversee comprehensive retraining of the police service to ensure all officers understand their role and the appropriate response to survivors. By ensuring better communication between police and survivors and with the Met working with the available support services, we can provide more effective provision for survivors. Many offenders commit rape multiple times before being caught – providing a safe environment for survivors to report can help stop serial rapists in their tracks.
- I will introduce police performance measures based on how satisfied survivors are with the way they are treated by the police when they report rape offences.
- I will fully support local groups who want to provide a presence on our streets at night, to build a London-wide movement for communities to reclaim our streets whilst acknowledging that rape too often takes place in the victims’ own home with someone they know.
- Research shows that the Olympics are likely to bring increases in human trafficking and prostitution. Women in the sex industry are vulnerable to rape and more likely to be ignored and not taken seriously so we must take action to protect some of the most vulnerable groups. There needs to be a plan in place - this can’t wait. I have written to Bernard Hogan-Howe to insist that the police are fully prepared for any rise in human trafficking.
I am passionate about keeping our streets safe and giving survivors the support they deserve.
1 Recorded figure for the financial year 2010/11 from: Offences recorded by the police in England and Wales by offence and police force area from 1990 to 2010/11, Home Office.
2 Recorded figure for 2010 from: Court Level Sentencing data, Supplementary Tables, Criminal Justice Statistics, England and Wales 2010, Ministry of Justice.