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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 11:51 GMT
Fury at rape report findings
Support groups have reacted angrily to a report saying police and prosecutors could be doing more to achieve convictions in rape cases.

The report, published by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service watchdogs, says too many rape claims are wrongly dismissed as unfounded and some cases are dropped prematurely.

DR KATHERINE RAKE, FAWCETT SOCIETY

Dr Katherine Rake, director of equality campaign group the Fawcett Society, said "wholesale reform" was needed.

Responses to allegations of rape need to improve all over the country
"Responses to allegations of rape need to improve all over the country so that women receive the help and support that they need at a time of crisis," she said.

She added that reform was needed to give women more confidence in the system.

"It is a national disgrace that the treatment that rape victims receive and the chances of their attacker being convicted are determined by their postcode."

LISA LONGSTAFFE, WOMEN AGAINST RAPE

Lisa Longstaffe, from the organisation Women Against Rape, said achieving convictions was vital for both the public at large and for the victims, who she said had been let down by the system.

The police are not doing their job properly ... the CPS is not presenting the evidence properly
"Having the man convicted, one, is the first protection that you have because it's going to stop him doing it again for as many years as he's in prison and, two, justice is the greatest healer.

"No wonder women are so put off going to the police to report given the low conviction rate.

"It is the most important factor and the fact is that this report has exposed, yet again, as many others have, that the police are not doing their job properly, they're not gathering the basic evidence, the CPS is not presenting the evidence properly in court and therefore the courts are not convicting."

JOANNA PERRY, VICTIM SUPPORT

Joanna Perry, policy manager at Victim Support, which helps people cope with the effects of crime, said some police forces were better than others.

Reports like this will really knock people's confidence
"I think that if you are a victim of rape, and watching today and hearing about the results of this report, you might be wondering if you should really be engaged with the criminal justice system because reports like this will really knock people's confidence.

"On the other hand, the report showed that there was some really good practice as well.

"And I think the main message from this report is that if you do come forward and if you have been a victim of rape, that the police and all criminal justice agencies must take you seriously right from the very beginning."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Rape victim criticises legal process



SEE ALSO
Rape procedures overhaul outlined
14 Jun 06 |  Scotland
'Postcode lottery' in rape cases
30 Mar 06 |  England

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