Reports of serious sexual violence in Nottinghamshire are on the up - but the conviction rate is not keeping pace and more cases must get to court. This is message PCC Paddy Tipping gave to Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham on his visit to the Nottingham Rape Crisis Centre yesterday, Thursday.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has been pushing for a better deal for women and girls who are victims of sexual and domestic violence since he was elected in 2012. Since then he has invested over £3m of funding into support groups and commissioned specialist support services to help victims cope and recover.
He said: “We have worked hard with Nottinghamshire Police to encourage people to come forward and report attacks of this nature. The fact that the number of people feeling confident enough to do so has increased is a real endorsement of Nottinghamshire police and the specialist services now available to them.
“But I’m disappointed that the increase in reports has not been mirrored by an increase in successful prosecutions in the County.
“It’s true, and I welcome the fact that, Nottinghamshire has a high success rate when cases get to court, but I would like to see more cases put before the courts. I think that victims who find the courage to come forward deserve to have their story heard. I think that the system needs to be more victim focussed and less risk averse when it comes to prosecutions. If there is evidence that a crime has been committed I would like to think that those details would be heard in court, so that there is a decent chance that the person responsible will be brought to justice.
“I don’t believe that the number of actual incidents has risen, it’s the number of people who have come forward to make a report that has increased. And that is good news. For too long this type of crime has been one of the ‘hidden’ crimes, and that is changing. So I welcome the increase in reporting, but I would like to welcome an increase in successful prosecutions too.”