Soft jurors fail to convict more than a third of young men charged with rape, shocking stats show

Startling figures, published by the Guardian, show men aged 18 to 24 in England and Wales are less likely to be found guilty than older suspects.

Crown Prosecution Service chiefs believe the stats are due to jurors being reluctant to punish younger men for sexual assaults.

Senior staff feel there is a desperate need to educate people, the paper says.

The figures came to light through a Freedom of Information request from Labour MP Ann Coffey. exploring numbers from the last five years.

Coffey, chair of the all-party parliamentary group for runaway and missing people, said: "The vast majority of rape victims choose not to report to the police.

What do the shocking rape stats show?

  • Only 32 per cent 18- to 24-year-old men arrested for rape were convicted last year – the lowest of any age group
  • This is compared to 46 per cent of successful prosecutions against men aged 25-59
  • In the past five years there have been 1,343 rape cases against 18- to 24-year-old men. Only 404 were convicted
  • Conviction rate for young men in all rape cases – including child and domestic abuse cases – is at 35 per cent for the past five years
  • The same rate for men aged 25-59 was a lot higher at 49 per cent

“One significant reason for this is fear of not being believed.

"Everybody should be concerned that young women are not getting access to justice. This brings the whole justice system into disrepute."

She said the stats reflect the "prevailing attitudes of society and juries to women" and said sex attack victims are often blamed for putting themselves in risky situations.

She added: "Juries seem to view evidence through the lens of stereotypes.

"There is still a dominance of rape myths in our culture, including that a woman who has drunk a lot cannot complain if she ends up being raped or that it is only rape if someone has injuries."

Nazir Afzal, the former chief crown prosecutor for north-west England and adviser to the Welsh government on violence against women, has backed education for jurors in light of the findings.

He said: "Juries are more likely to make allowances for a defendant the younger he is, this idea that he may not have known what he was doing at 24, but if he was older than that he does."

A spokesperson for the CPS told the paper: "We are working on a number of different fronts to improve performance in this area.

"This includes early liaison with police prior to making charging decisions, and providing specialist training for prosecutors on consent, myths and stereotypes, and cases involving vulnerable witnesses and young people.”



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