The Government has announced a new pilot court scheme in a bid to increase low prosecution and conviction rates.
The initiative means prosecutors, police officers and other staff at three pilot courts will receive specialist trauma training, with any conclusions learned rolled out across the country to increase the volume and speed of rape cases going through the system.
Rape Crisis said the courts are a step in the right direction to arrest ‘appalling prosecution rates’, but more information is needed on how they will work.
Ministry of Justice figures show 52 rape cases were heard in court in 2021 following investigations by Nottinghamshire Police, with 12 convictions, down from 16 in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.
However, 1,135 alleged rapes were recorded by the force last year, meaning only a fraction are likely to lead to a conviction.
Across England and Wales, there were 895 rape convictions, compared with 67,125 new cases.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the pilot courts, due to be operational in October, ‘will focus on improving support for victims, tackling the backlog and reducing delays’.
He said: “We’re also rolling out pre-recorded evidence faster, recruiting 1,000 sexual violence advisors, developing a 24/7 helpline and improving collaboration between police and prosecutors to ensure victims get the justice they deserve.”
In Nottinghamshire, just 0.7 per cent of the 831 rape investigations concluded by police last year led to a charge or summons.
Some 22 per cent of cases were dropped due to evidential difficulties, despite the support of the victim and the suspect being identified, while a further 62 per cent were dropped because the victim did not support further action.
No suspect was identified in 9 per cent of cases.
Across England and Wales, just 2 per cent of 42,203 concluded investigations led to a prosecution.
Jayne Butler, chief executive of Rape Crisis said: “The majority of victims and survivors seeking criminal justice are being let down by the system.”
Nottinghamshire Police have been approached for comment.