Rape and Sexual Abuse Victims

Part of Justice – in the House of Commons on 5th July 2022.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I am extremely grateful to the shadow Minister for raising that matter. You know, Mr Speaker, that I wrote to you privately concerning conduct in this Chamber, because how we conduct ourselves in this Chamber matters: it has implications far beyond these walls for victims of crime. I raised this privately in a letter to you, Mr Speaker. I copied in the hon. Lady, as a professional courtesy, and it has mysteriously found its way into The Guardian newspaper; I know not how that could have happened. Just on a matter of House business, it is a very great shame that when colleagues express discreetly concerns about conduct in this Chamber, it becomes a matter for the national newspapers.

Turning to the hon. Lady’s allegations, we have more victims reporting their crimes to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service charging more perpetrators. We have timeliness in the Crown court improving by five weeks on last year. What is more, we have seen the conviction rate increase since last year, by two thirds. These are steps towards the targets that we want to meet. I do not for a moment claim that our work is done, but we must, for the sake of victims, ensure that we give them the reassurance and the support they need to bring these allegations to light.