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RAPE: FROM RECORDING TO CONVICTION

NCJ Number
142244
Author(s)
S Grace; C Lloyd; L J F Smith
Date Published
1992
Annotation
Data from 335 cases initially recorded as rape in England and Wales during the second quarter of 1985 were analyzed at each stage of case processing to determine why such a low proportion of cases result in convictions.
Abstract
The cases involved 327 suspects and 302 complainants. Information came from police and court documents, using the alleged victim's account of the incident as the basic source of information, supplemented by police, medical, and witness statements. Results revealed that 165 cases dropped out of the system before any court proceedings took place; cautioning was used in 2 percent of the cases. Among the 335 cases, 255 were finally recorded as offenses, 228 resulted in the detection of a suspect, 178 involved further proceedings by the police, and 170 were prosecuted. Overall, only 40 percent reached the final stage of conviction; of these, two thirds resulted in rape convictions at Crown Court; the others resulted in convictions for other offenses, some at magistrates' court. A conviction was most likely if the alleged victim was age 16 or under. Cases in which the alleged victim was married or cohabiting were twice as likely as others not to be determined a crime. Results indicated that evidence became most complex in cases in which the complainant and the suspect were known to each other, and attrition was most common in these cases. Tables and lists of other Home Office publications