UK & World News
Rape Convictions Boost Bid 'Not Enough'
A new action plan to increase the proportion of successful rape convictions has been announced by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
But it has already been criticised by one rape support group.
Women Against Rape claims not enough is being done to encourage victims to report the crimes against them.
The group said: "We're outraged to see the rape action plan announced in a press release today by the CPS and police given that they are at the same time going after women reporting rape for so-called false allegations, with more vigour and resources than we ever see them go after rapists."
In the past year there has been an overall rise in the number of police referrals, prosecutions and convictions for rape.
But the proportion of court cases that result in conviction has fallen by 4.2%.
To try to improve conviction rates the CPS's new action plan includes:
:: Updating the joint police and CPS national rape protocol
:: The monitoring of police decisions to take no further action in rape cases
:: New practical guidance for frontline police officers and prosecutors
Announcing the new plans, Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "I am determined to ensure our long-term progress to tackle rape continues, particularly in dispelling the myths and stereotypes surrounding these types of cases.
"The new action plan makes very clear that, as with cases of child sexual abuse, the focus of any investigation and case preparation should not be on the credibility of the victim but on the credibility of the overall allegation, including the actions of the suspect."
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, National Policing Lead on Adult Sex Offences, said: "This is absolutely about helping victims of rape. This is about showing, and continuing to show, our commitment to improving the way we deal with rape."
Some estimates suggest there are as many as 85,000 rapes committed every year in England and Wales, only 10% of which are reported to police.
One victim told Sky News there are still "myths" surrounding rape.
She said: "But I think the big problem is the prosecutors in court are still allowed to use myths, as are the defendants.
"I actually wrote to Alison Saunders after there were serious flaws in my case and I never got a response.
"I did say to her changes should begin in the justice system before you tackle the myths of the general person in the street."
When asked what she thought of the latest measures, she said: "We've heard it all before.
"I now campaign for Women Against Rape, from their history and the short time I've been there, every year or every so often we see these guidelines are going to be brought out or there's a press release saying we're going to do things better and nothing ever changes."