Nearly two-thirds of people reporting a rape in London drop their complaint within a month of making it, according to damning new statistics.
Claire Waxman, the London Victims’ Commissioner, has made a number of recommendations after a study of 501 allegations found that only 6 percent result in a trial and 3 percent in conviction.
Of those who report sexual assault or rape to the police, 64 percent dropped their report after 30 days of dealing with a police officer, up from 18 percent in a review conducted two years ago.
Waxman says that the intrusive use of personal data on survivors' phones can deter people from continuing with the case. Victims said they felt it was disproportionate to remove their phones when they were not being investigated for a crime.
Danielle (not her real name) is a survivor listed in the report who was raped by someone identified eight years later by a DNA sample. She says police still asked for her school and medical records, therapy notes, as well as whether she still had the same phone.
“This felt so invasive and disturbing,” she said, “as if rather than assessing the evidence gathered at the time of the rape, they were evaluating my character over my lifetime.”
The report revealed other failures when it came to rape survivors reporting their experience. According to Waxman’s findings, 84 percent of victims knew their perpetrator, while only 7 percent of cases were perpetrated by a stranger.
The average length from reporting to trial for those who didn’t drop their complaint was 18 months.
Waxman said: “This review has shone a much-needed light on some of the common misconceptions around rape – that it is a crime committed by a predatory stranger in a dark alleyway, or that if a case doesn’t progress to court then it must have been a false allegation.
“The stark reality is that all too often rape happens in the home, committed by someone known to the victim, and that accessing justice is near-impossible.”
In a statement, the Metropolitan police said: “The Met is committed to providing the best possible service to victims of rape and sexual offences.”
"We are absolutely determined to increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice by improving our processes, investigations and victim care, all the time working with partners across the criminal justice system.”