GREEN MEP WARNS RAPE MUST BE SEEN AS HIGH RISK CRIME
London's Green MEP Jean Lambert has today welcomed government proposals
to boost Britain’s rape conviction rate but warned that until such a
serious crime is seen as high-risk the number of rapes committed will
continue to increase.
With over 50,000 rapes in the UK each year but only 600 rapists sent to
jail Jean, who sits on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home affairs
committee in the European Parliament, questioned why conviction of rape
is so difficult. Jean said; “The rape prosecution figures for the UK are
utterly shocking and although the governments proposals are a step in
the right direction there is still an overwhelming fear and
dissatisfaction of the whole prosecution process. Of 343 women, who said
they had been raped, only 22 were satisfied with the police
investigation. At least by allowing expert witnesses into courtrooms
some of the pressure and fear will be taken off the victim.
“The boundaries and definition of sexual consent are currently so
blurred that even the courts seem to have difficulty in convicting the
perpetrator. Not only do we need to redefine the law on a person’s
ability to consent to sex but we must change attitudes surrounding what
rape entails, what the victim and the rapists look like, their clothing
“With the increasing number of rapes committed we need to introduce
issues of consent as part of education in schools. Such behavior,
whether stranger rape or domestic rape, cannot be seen as an acceptable
“In 2003 women only had a 5.3% chance of seeing their rapist convicted.
We now want the Government to look at specialist prosecution teams that
really develop experience in dealing with such cases. There is still a
lot more work to do however before women everywhere can have the
confidence that their case will be taken seriously in every court
throughout the UK.”
Jean has campaigned for action against sexual exploitation, rape as a
weapon of war and the trafficking of women and children since her
election in 1999.