To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what engagement there has been with victims of sexual violence as part of the cross-Government end-to-end review of the criminal justice system handling of rape cases.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many meetings related to the cross-Government end-to-end review of the criminal justice system handling of rape cases have taken place with the (a) National Criminal Justice Board and (b) victims and survivors stakeholder group since March 2019.
The Government recognises that the decline in the number of rape and serious sexual offences being charged and prosecuted in England and Wales is a cause for concern, and we are determined to do everything we can to ensure these appalling crimes are tackled effectively and victims are supported.
The end-to-end review was commissioned in March 2019 by the National Criminal Justice Board (CJB). A sub-group of the CJB is driving forward this review and met in April 2019, June 2019 and October 2019. The sub-group includes representation from across the criminal justice system, and many members regularly engage with victims and victims’ groups.
In addition, the review has established a Stakeholder Reference Group, which is made up of victim organisations, which is consulted to ensure the inclusion of the victim experience and to provide independent scrutiny. This group met in May 2019 and February 2020, and has been involved in development of some of the research carried out as part of the review. A number of members have played crucial roles in engagement with agencies and practitioners, helping to facilitate and attending relevant focus groups.
In addition to the work of the undertaken by the Reference Group in the context of the review, we regularly consult with victims’ groups to inform our wider work on issues relevant to victims of sexual violence, such as reforms to the Victims’ Code and the Rape Victims’ Pledge. The Lord Chancellor hosted a roundtable in September 2019 which focused on victims of sexual violence and was attended by those with lived experience and a number of members of the Reference Group.