Azara Blog: More rapists now cautioned than a decade ago

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Date published: 2006/04/10

The BBC says:

The number of rapists given a caution and freed instead of facing jail has more than doubled in the past decade in England and Wales, figures show.

In 2004, 40 offenders were cautioned for rape - compared with 19 in 1994.

The Home Office said cautions were used only in the most exceptional cases, but campaign group Rape Crisis said it was "shocked" by the statistics.
Criminal barrister Kirsty Brimelow, who has defended men in rape cases, said about half of those cautioned in 2004 were under 18 years old.

She said some of the others were likely to be historic rape allegations, where the crime was committed decades earlier.

"Sometimes in those cases the victim just wants an admission from the defendant, but doesn't want a trial so that would result in a caution," she said.

Claire Ward from the Crown Prosecution Service said people were now encouraged to make historic allegations.

She also pointed out the numbers of rapists receiving cautions had remained fairly constant since 2000.

A typically silly story stirred up by the British chattering classes. When you have a trivial number of cases of something (far and away the vast majority of rapes do not fall in this category) then a doubling is hardly meaningful of anything, except that in this case perhaps the police are trawling through more rape cases than they used to and in certain of these cases convictions are unlikely (indeed the number of reported rapes has more than doubled during the same period). But of course all the usual special interest pressure groups come out of the woodwork, because they can get lots of free publicity on the BBC with their trivial soundbites about how it is all "shocking", and then hope to push their agenda during the next day or two on the usual chatterbox programs (e.g. Women's Hour on Radio 4).

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