The rape reform programme called Operation Soteria that has been trialled in 19 police forces previously is now being extended to include all forces in England and Wales.
What is Operation Soteria?
According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Operation Soteria is “a collaborative programme bringing together police forces with academics and policy leads to use evidence and new insight to enable forces to transform their response to rape and serious sexual offences.”
This means police forces pledging to change how rape and sexual offences are investigated and working to share knowledge and expertise.
The new policy was adopted by the Metropolitan Police in London from September 2021.
The intentions are good, so has the rape reform programme had results?
The answer seems to be yes and no.
According to government figures charges for sexual offences are increasing nationally from 3.6% between April and June 2021 to 4.5% between April and June 2022 (the most recent available figures).
A BBC news article published online today says this is not the experience of victims.
There are still major failings on individual cases and with the system as a whole but the general trend is in the right direction.
Is a criminal conviction necessary in order to claim compensation?
Fortunately, not. The criminal injuries compensation scheme, requires an applicant to have reported a rape or sexual assault to the police, but there does not have to have been a conviction. Where the police or CPS make a decision not to prosecute the CICA will look at the available evidence and need only be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the assault took place.