Rape Crisis (England and Wales) is the national umbrella organisation for a network of specialised support centres for women and girls across the country. Rape Crisis Centres are frontline services with a real life knowledge of the issues a woman and girl face, this is why we also campaign continuously to raise awareness of the prevalence of violence against women and girls and why we insist that rape must be recorded as a violent crime whether the rapist is known to the victim or not. The information released today by the BBC highlights disparities in the way that police forces in England and Wales record allegations of rape. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14844985
The ongoing issue is about the lack of standardisation area by area, regarding police recording. It is accepted by the government, the police and opinion formers that rape is already under reported. The creation, throughout the country of specialist police teams over the last decade has led to some improvements in localised areas but has not led to significant changes for women and girls who have experienced sexual violence.
We firmly believe that the way to tackle this situation is not through the reclassification or 'downgrading' of sexual crimes but in an ongoing and consistent effort to ensure those throughout the criminal justice system recognise all rape as a serious, violent offence and work appropriately with women and girls who report it.