Karin Smyth MP condemns the Government for failing to take action to tackle the epidemic of violence against women and girls 

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has condemned the Government for failing to take sufficient action to tackle the epidemic of violence against women and girls as conviction rates for rape reach a historic low.

The charge rate for rape has plummeted to just 1.3%, down from 5.9% in 2016.  For sexual offences, the charge rate is just 2.9%, down from 8.3% in 2016.  The proportion of rape victims giving up on getting justice and dropping out of the process now stands at more than 40%, showing just how little is benign done to support victims of rape.

At an Opposition Day debate this week, the Labour Party called on the Government to introduce minimum sentences for stalking and rape, to raise minimum sentencing for spiking and to implement Labour’s survivors’ package for victims of rape and serious sexual violence to restore trust in the criminal justice system.


Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:

“As we commemorate International Women’s Day this week, it’s essential that we continue our commitment to making the world a safer place for women and girls.  Under this Conservative Government, however, too many criminals are being let off and victims are being let down.

“Court delays are skyrocketing, rape convictions are at a record low, and too many victims are dropping out of the justice process through lack of support.  Labour has a plan to tackle violence against women and girls and secure justice for survivors.  We’ll fast-track rape cases, toughen sentences and raise conviction rates with a Survivors Support Package.

“But we also need to tackle the issue of record-high court delays for victims of all crime, as victims are being left waiting years for their day in court.  That’s why Labour would start by clearing the backlog and putting victims first.  We’d extend the use of Nightingale Courts, increase the time judges can hear cases each year and put victims’ rights in law so they can trust that the Criminal Justice System will deliver them the justice they deserve. 

“It’s crucial that people in Bristol South feel safe in their homes and have confidence that, should anything happen, they will have the support they need to get justice.  I will continue speaking out in Parliament to achieve this.”