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Government will take 18 years to reach rape prosecutions target, data shows

rape prosecutions

Government will take 18 years to reach rape prosecutions target, data shows

It will take nearly two decades for the government to reach its own target for turning around the collapse in rape prosecutions in England and Wales at the current pace of change, according to analysis.

In June the government promised to halt a collapse in the number of rapists being brought to justice, and vowed to return the number of charges and prosecutions to 2016 levels before the end of this parliament.

But new quarterly Crown Prosecution Service data shows that in the last 12 months just 41 extra suspects were charged compared with the year before. In 2015-16 the CPS charged 3,910 suspects with rape, but in the year ending June 2021, 1,972 charges were made.

Guardian analysis, based on the number of charges brought in the past 11 quarters modelled on to future quarters, shows it would take 18 years at the current pace to get back to that figure.

Dame Vera Baird, the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, said it was “hard to see even the green shoots of a recovery”. She added: “Presently, the government’s stated ambition feels more like a pipe dream and victims will continue to be failed unless the CPS rapidly and urgently ups the ante.”

It comes as pressure mounts on the government to take decisive action to tackle violence against women and girls, after the murders of Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman and Sarah Everard and the death of Sabina Nessa, and a 70% fall in rape prosecutions since 2016-17.

Campaigners said the government’s target increasingly looked “wholly unrealistic” and called for urgent action. Last month the prime minister, Boris Johnson, said he could not guarantee that targets to improve rape prosecution and conviction rates set out in the government’s rape review would be met.

“The figures are incredibly worrying, because despite promises of improvements in prosecution volumes that would take us closer to 2016 levels, we’re instead seeing that the criminal justice system still fails women,” said Andrea Simon, the director of the End Violence Against Women coalition. “These figures must be a wake up to government, the CPS and police forces that we need urgent change in the justice system response to violence against women.”

The figures, covering the three-month period from 1 April to 30 June 2021, also show rape complainants continue to face long – and increasing – waits for cases to come to trial. The average time from when police refer a case to the CPS to a charge has increased from 155.1 days in January to March 2021 to 170.2 days in April to June – four times as long as the average across all crimes.

“For victims and survivors to wait for so long just to hear whether their perpetrator will be charged is extremely difficult and will have a detrimental effect on their wellbeing and their ability to engage with the criminal justice process,” said Jayne Butler, the chief executive of Rape Crisis. “The timescales for rape cases will discourage victims and survivors from seeking justice: this must change.”

The number of prosecutions and convictions increased in the last quarter, as recovery from the pandemic continues. There were 601 completed prosecutions in the last quarter, almost double the number of the preceding quarter. Convictions increased from 223 to 398 in the same period.

Campaigners also warned that victims of domestic abuse were being failed. The new data shows the number of suspects charged dropped by 7% from 11,709 in January to March to 10,840 between April and June, the number of completed prosecutions fell from 14,695 to 13,938 and the number of convictions fell from 12,363 to 10,607.

The shadow solicitor general, Ellie Reeves, said the government continued to fail rape victims. “Rape conviction rates have plummeted, victims are being deserted and it is clear this is a government that has absolutely no desire to fix the mess it has created, nor a plan to keep women and girls safe,” she said.

The justice secretary, Dominic Raab, and the attorney general, Suella Braverman, said: “Our track record to date is not good enough and this data is a clear demonstration of why we must galvanise all aspects of the criminal justice system – from the police station to the court room – to improve outcomes for victims. Everyone will be held accountable for the successful delivery of the rape action plan.”

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Ondo Govt reacts to court judgement declaring new LCDAs ‘illegal’

The Ondo State Government says necessary legal action will be taken on the judgement nullifying the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

The government’s reaction is contained in a statement by the Attorney General of Ondo State, Mr Kayode Ajulo SAN, made available to  newsmen on Friday in Akure.

Justice A.O Adebusuoye of the state High Court had in a judgement on Thursday described the creation of the LCDAs as unlawful.

The court said it was illegal for a governor to sign a law outside the State.

The court said that the Local Government Creation Law 2023 signed by the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Ibadan was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The statement said the government has taken cognizance of Ondo State High Court’s judgement and had requested for a Certified True Copy of it.

Ajulo said after it was studied and analysed, a legal opinion would be presented to the state government.

“Subsequently, all necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

“The Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritizing the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served,” the statement said.

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LASTMA impounds 40 vehicles in Oyingbo, ijora, idumota axis

The  Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has impounded another 25 commercial and 15 private vehicles operating illegal garages and causing serious road obstructions around Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota areas of  Lagos.

Mr Taofiq Adebayo, Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Adebayo said impounding the vehicles at these areas was a decisive move by LASTMA to restore order and ensure the free flow of traffic.

He said the operation was led by LASTMA Head of Enforcement, Mr Kayode Odunuga, under the directives of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Sola Giwa.

Adebayo that they were specifically directed to target illegal garages that had been a persistent source of congestion and inconvenience for residents and commuters.

He said the impoundment, which began in recent weeks, was part of a broader initiative by the  Lagos State Government to enhance the efficiency of the city’s transportation network.

He quoted Giwa as emphasising that government is committed to maintaining law and order on the roads, ensuring that all traffic regulations are strictly enforced.

“illegal garages have been a significant challenge in our quest to maintain a seamless traffic flow in Lagos.

“These impoundments send a strong message to all offenders that the state will not tolerate activities that disrupt public order and endanger the lives of our citizens.

“Our goal is to create a safe and orderly environment for all road users and this action is a crucial step in that direction,” Giwa said.

He noted that the targeted areas, Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota, are known hotspots for traffic congestion due to unauthorised parking and the establishment of makeshift garages.

He said that these activities not only obstruct the free movement of vehicles but also pose safety risks to pedestrians.

“LASTMA’s intervention aims to clear these bottlenecks and enhance the overall traffic situation in these critical areas.

“Residents and business owners have expressed their support for the government’s action, noting the positive impact it will have on their daily activities.

“LASTMA has also assured the public that the operation will be sustained and extended to other parts of the city where illegal garages and related activities are prevalent,” he quoted Giwa as saying.

He urged all vehicle owners and operators to adhere to the state’s traffic regulations and cooperate with authorities to avoid sanctions.

He reiterated that the government’s primary objective was to create a better and more livable Lagos for everyone.

He also urged motorists to take ownership of the roads and to promptly inform LASTMA of any broken down or abandoned trailers or trucks via the Agency’s hotlines: 0810056586008129928503.

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Emir of Ilorin commiserates with Saraki over mother’s death

Nigeria in very bad shape, only PDP can rebuild it —Saraki

Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, has commiserated with a former Senate President,  Dr Bukola Saraki, over the death of his mother, Mrs Florence Saraki.

This is contained in a condolence message issued by the emir’s Spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, on Wednesday in Ilorin.

Mrs Saraki died on Tuesday at the age of 89.

Sulu-Gambari described the deceased as a wonderful mother, great philanthropist and virtuous wife to  Dr Olusola Saraki, the late Waziri of Ilorin, whose contributions to humanity would forever be remembered.

According to him, the deceased lived a fulfilled life, with numerous accomplishments.

The royal father urged Saraki, a two-term governor of Kwara, and his siblings to be strong in heart over the demise of their beloved mother.

Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman of Kwara Traditional Rulers’ Council, extended his condolences to both the immediate and extended family members of the Saraki dynasty.

“I pray that Almighty Allah grants the family and friends the fortitude to bear the great loss,” he said.

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