Help stop women being denied justice after rape

by End Violence Against Women Coalition

Help stop women being denied justice after rape

by End Violence Against Women Coalition
End Violence Against Women Coalition
Case Owner
We are a coalition of UK women's organisations working to end violence against women.
on 12th June 2019
pledged of £105,000 stretch target from 3832 pledges
End Violence Against Women Coalition
Case Owner
We are a coalition of UK women's organisations working to end violence against women.

Latest: July 13, 2021

The Government Rape Review has arrived, and our work continues

To our wonderful supporters,

Since our last update we have been reflecting on the incredible work that we did in raising awareness about the injustices faced by victims and survivors of rape in our cr…

Read more

The criminal justice system is failing to deliver justice after rape. 

We're taking action.


"The man who raped me and confessed to it will never be extradited and arrested, never be questioned by police, never be charged, and never be brought to trial." (Bonny Turner, survivor)

Women and girls across the country are discovering that if they are raped, there is very little chance of the man who raped them ever being brought to justice.

The catastrophic drop in rape prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service requires immediate action - we're mounting a legal challenge against the CPS in England & Wales and we need your help. Contribute now and share this page with your friends, family and on social media.  

Every day the CPS are letting down women who have been raped

We have heard from many women who have decided to report rape to the police; have endured what can be very gruelling questioning and possibly medical examinations; have had to sacrifice their phone, computer and personal records;  endure an agonising wait; to then be told that the case has been dropped.

When *Rebecca was raped by a man she had been dating, the police told her it was a strong case. He was known to the police, and had in fact impersonated a police officer, and threatened her at knifepoint. But months later, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case and she was left devastated.

“They said they’re thinking of dropping the case, that I’m not a credible witness and I'd be ripped apart in court. If I’m not a good enough witness, who the hell is?” (*Rebecca, survivor)

There has been a massive drop in the numbers charged

While there has been a very significant increase in the number of rapes reported to the police since 2014 (up 173%), the numbers of prosecutions has dramatically dropped (down by 44%) meaning half as many rapists are being charged with rape. 

The statistics speak for themselves and show a serious and dangerous shift away from securing justice for victims of rape. 

Prosecutors are standing in the way of justice for women 

The Crown Prosecution Service appear to have secretly changed their policy and practice and we have gathered evidence that senior managers are worried about their ‘performance data’ and are encouraging prosecutors to drop cases which might be hard to win. This means dropping rape cases and bringing fewer rapists to justice.

Our case

We will not stand by and let what progress has been made in prosecuting rape over the last decade slip away. 

Supported by the Centre for Women's Justice who are acting for us, we are bringing a judicial review against the CPS for secretly changing their approach to prosecuting rape cases. We believe the change in practice is unlawful, discriminatory and a violation of women’s human rights.

This challenge will force the CPS to look at the barriers to justice in rape cases, and address the systemic discrimination at play.

"Some of my family and friends have said I just need to get on with my life. I don’t know how that’s possible given how angry, exhausted and unsafe I feel just surviving in this world." (Bonny Turner, survivor)

The case is supported by The Good Law Project whose Director Jolyon Maugham QC said:

“The failure of the criminal justice system effectively to deter rapists is a genuine scandal. With every year that passes tens of thousands more lives are destroyed. The data shows that, far from redoubling our efforts, we have seen an 80% decline in the proportion of rapes reported to police that reach the court room. This is intolerable.” 

How much we need

Our lawyers will be paid nothing unless this case wins. But we still need money for court fees, for expert statistical analysis of the data about rape prosecutions, and to pay the Government’s costs if we lose. The End Violence Against Women Coalition is a small charity and is simply not in a position to bear that costs risk alone. It’s impossible to know what order for costs the Court might make but we’ve set an initial target of £15,000 to get this case off the ground. We are likely to need to raise more.

*some names have been changed to protect the anonymity of rape survivors.

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Update 15

End Violence Against Women Coalition

July 13, 2021

The Government Rape Review has arrived, and our work continues

To our wonderful supporters,

Since our last update we have been reflecting on the incredible work that we did in raising awareness about the injustices faced by victims and survivors of rape in our criminal justice system in England & Wales. Which we couldn't have done without your help.

Despite the disappointing judgment at the Court of Appeal, we believe that with your help we won the battle of public opinion, and with it we received significant media coverage. This in turn influenced both CPS and police to improve policy and the government to announce changes.  Sometimes even when you lose a legal case the impact of fighting it, and the recognition gained, is more than worth the fight.  So we repeat a huge thank you to all our supporters for helping us to make this possible.

In November of last year we worked with our sister organisations Centre for Womens Justice, Imkaan and Rape Crisis to create a series of ambitious asks and reforms needed in the government rape review. These were published in our report The Decriminalisation of Rape: Why the justice system is failing rape survivors and what needs to change  

After two years the government finally published their Rape Review in June and while it recognised some of the harms that the system had inflicted on victims and survivors, it did not go anywhere near far enough. We expressed our continued disappointment here. 

Justice for rape survivors is at the core of our work and we will continue to push for the changes and improvements that all survivors of rape and sexual abuse deserve. On the horizon is the new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, the Online Safety Bill and the ongoing joint inspection by the HMICFRS and HMCPSI all of which we will be pushing to improve and to centre the needs of women and girls. 

We would really appreciate your ongoing support for our work and invite you to now sign up here  for EVAW bulletins on campaigning, legal challenges, research projects and fundraising. You can also follow us and Centre for Women's Justice on Twitter and/or Facebook to stay up to date with our work and campaigns. 

Twitter @EVAWUK @CentreWJ

Facebook @endviolenceagainstwomen @centreforwomensjustice

We want to once again thank you for all of your continued support, this battle may be over but the fight goes on. 

In solidarity, 

The EVAW Coalition and the Centre for Women’s Justice

Update 14

End Violence Against Women Coalition

March 18, 2021

What next?

Dear wonderful supporters,

We know you must be as disappointed as we are with Monday’s judgment which failed to hold the CPS accountable for the devastating drop in rape prosecutions.

That's why we are launching a Call To Action to keep the pressure on the CPS and the Government and ensure that there is justice for rape survivors. 

We urge women across England and Wales to continue this fight with us:

1 Respond to the Home Office's current consultation on its national Violence against Women and Girls Strategy by 11:45pm on 26 March 2021 If they are flooded with responses all echoing the same concerns, it will be hard for them to ignore -  ask the government to act on the recommendations in our joint report, The Decriminalisation of Rape which you can find here:

2 Demanding the CPS waive their legal costs. The £75,000 CrowdJustice funds we raised came from the pockets of survivors, activists and those working with victims. EVAW and CWJ could use these funds to continue to help women get justice after rape. Please email the CPS via the feedback form( and tweet Max Hill @MaxHillQC and @CPSUK and @attorneygeneral

Thank you again for your ongoing support for EVAW and the CWJ. Together we will build a society that does not tolerate rape.

In solidarity, 


Update 13

End Violence Against Women Coalition

March 15, 2021

Outcome of our Judicial Review

To our valued supporters, 

We are writing to share the outcome of our judicial review, which was given this morning by the Court of Appeal. We are deeply disappointed to have to inform you that the judges have failed to hold the CPS accountable on the collapse in rape prosecutions in their judgement.

The three senior Justices – including the Lord Chief Justice – declined to examine the evidence presented by EVAW and the CWJ and instead accepted the case made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that there had been no change 'in substance’ to the policy that the CPS apply when they consider whether or not to prosecute a serious sexual offence. The judgement brings us no closer to institutions having to answer for a catastrophic collapse in rape justice.

We are all completely floored, and heartbroken by this judgement. We felt that what we put to the court clearly showed how the measures the CPS took to change its policy relating to prosecuting rape was unlawful; it is enormously disappointing that the judges who presided over this hearing did not agree, and barely engaged with the evidence we put forward. As EVAW has said today:

 “Thousands of rape victims continue to be let down by a broken criminal justice system.  The Court of Appeal has given the CPS the benefit of the doubt, on whether there was any change of approach to prosecution decision making, but we still lack alternative answers to why rape prosecutions have collapsed. This marks another establishment betrayal of victims of violence against women and girls.


Rape urgently needs to be at the heart of the political agenda, there are systemic failings – with some victims highly invisible to the justice system because of their race, disability, or background. We expect a review into rape by the Government to report soon, and it must deliver deep and meaningful change to restore any confidence in the system.”

 We know that this must be difficult news to receive, but know that EVAW has absolutely no regrets in pursuing this case. The public support, we have received for the JR – and your support in particular – show us not only that we are on the right side of history, but how strongly we all feel about holding those responsible for the systemic collapse of rape prosecutions in this country to account. Thank you for being a part of it –we could not have done this without you.

 What now? 

We are going to ask the court for permission to appeal the decision, however we do not expect this to be granted.

We are determined to continue to be a powerful advocate for women and girls affected by violence. Our supporters (you!) are a really crucial part of the continued work advocating for radical overhaul of the system when it comes to justice for rape survivors. Anticipating the Government’s forthcoming Rape Review findings and action plan, we published our Shadow Report which makes detailed recommendations for reform of the criminal justice system response to rape, and especially that the Government create a clear Ministerial lead with responsibility in this area who can drive accountability and long-term culture shifts across the police, CPS and courts.

You can read more about our research into the effective decriminalisation of rape and our key recommendations here.

 A big, big thank you 

 Throughout our legal challenge, we have been both humbled and so overwhelmed by the huge outpouring of support for this case, including the £115,349 raised on this Crowdjustice page. Thank you again to everyone who donated or shared your story with us -we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. The hundreds and hundreds of messages we received have given us much courage, determination and resilience, in spite of setbacks like these. 

As these funds will now be going towards the CPS’s legal costs, we hope that the CPS makes public how they intend to use this money to support victims and survivors of rape. 

Whilst this may be the end of our legal battle, EVAW will continue to stand up for every woman and girl who has sought, is seeking or will seek justice in the future.

Together we can build a better world for women and girls.

Thank you again, 


Update 12

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Feb. 9, 2021

Waiting for the outcome of our case

Dear Supporters, 

On the 26th and 27th January 2021, the Court of Appeal heard our judicial review against the CPS for their failure to prosecute rape. 

It was a tough two days, but EVAW is so incredibly grateful to our barristers Phillipa Kaufmann QC, Jennifer Macleod, Emma Mockford, and our solicitors Kate Ellis and Harriet Wistrich for their fearless work in court.

We will likely only hear about the outcome of the case around March 2021, but as soon as we have an update we will post it here. 

Here is a roundup for the press coverage the case received:

Again, thank you to everyone who donated for your continued support and solidarity for our case. No matter what the final outcome of this case, EVAW and CWJ will continue to strive for justice for all women and girls. 

You can also follow us on social media: 

CWJ: @centreWJ on Twitter

EVAW: @evawuk on Twitter 

Thank you again! 

The EVAW and CWJ team

Update 11

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Jan. 25, 2021

We're in court tomorrow - thank you!

Dear Supporters, 

The Court of Appeal will hear our judicial review against the CPS over their failure to prosecute rape on the 26th and 27th January 2021. 

Thanks to your generous and ongoing donations we have fully covered our legal costs. Reading your messages on the CrowdJustice page reminds us of the large swell of public support for urgent and systemic changes to our criminal justice system, of which the judicial review will hopefully play a part. 

We cannot stress enough how grateful we are for your continued solidarity. No matter what the final outcome of the judicial review, EVAW and CWJ are here for every woman and girl who has sought, is seeking or will seek justice in the future 

You can see media coverage of our case here: 

BBC Today programme (listen from 6.40) 

The Observer

The case will be heard over the 26th and 27th January but given the large amount of legal arguments and evidence that will need to be examined by the court, it is unlikely we will receive an outcome at the end of the second day. We will continue to post updates as and when we receive them on the CrowdJustice page. 

You can also follow us on social media: 

CWJ: @centreWJ on Twitter

EVAW: @evawuk on Twitter 

Thank you again! 

The EVAW and CWJ team

Update 10

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Jan. 19, 2021

We have nearly made it to trial!

Dear Supporters,

Thanks to the extraordinary public support we have received, we have been able to fight our legal challenge all the way to trial – and our hearing date is coming up in just over a week’s time!

Our case will be heard over two days – on the 26th and 27th January 2021 – at the Court of Appeal. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that any of us will be able to be in court at person, given the national lockdown, but if everyone helps to raise awareness and voice their support, we hope the national media will listen.

We still need your help!

Thanks again to you, we were able to meet the new fundraising target that we set ourselves in September 2020! This means that we have been able to fight this case all the way to trial in the knowledge that – if we lose – we will not be forced to pay out an amount in costs that we cannot afford. The Crown Prosecution Service still maintain that if we do not win on our legal grounds, they will seek an order for costs against us of up to £75,000 (which is the costs cap imposed by the court).

In addition to the money we might have to pay to the CPS if we lose next week, we have also had to pay for expert fees, court fees and printing costs. The costs at this last stage of proceedings have in fact been more substantial than we originally anticipated, as a result of receiving new material in the case from the CPS, and the additional administrative costs of having to prepare and outsource printing of all of our trial papers while working remotely from home. It is also looking likely that we will have to continue incurring costs in the week or so remaining before trial. Our entire legal team is acting for us under a ‘no win no fee’ agreement, which means they are only paid by the CPS if we win. Given the £75,000 cost cap we would have to pay the CPS if we lose, our fundraising needs remain  substantial.

With this in mind, we are asking for ONE LAST CROWDFUNDING EFFORT to help us reach our final fundraising target of £105,000 before trial. If you feel able to give more, it would be hugely appreciated – and if you are not, we are equally grateful for any efforts you can make to share and draw attention to this crowdfunding page. We are so nearly there...

 Any unused funds at the end of the case will be used by the EVAW Coalition and CWJ to help fund other strategic litigation, campaigning or other projects aimed at holding the state to account in relation to violence against women and girls.

Our day in court - what to expect

The Crown Prosecution Service are still contesting our claim. It is expected that their legal team will make the case at trial that the CPS did not materially change their rape prosecution policy, or practice, in the years 2016 to 2018. We believe that this is an extraordinary position to take given what we now know:

  • CPS management imposed a formal conviction rate target (or ‘level of ambition’) for rape in 2016, without making this public. The CPS themselves have admitted to the Law Society Gazette that they eventually dropped this policy two years later, as they realised retrospectively that it might give prosecutors a “perverse incentive” to prosecute fewer cases: only pursuing the ‘easiest’ cases, instead of investigating and prosecuting as many cases as possible

  • Trainings were also delivered to sexual offences prosecutors in 2016 (and not to prosecutors working in any other area of crime) in which they were discouraged categorically from referring to the ‘merits-based approach’ in their charging decisions any more, and told that if they could identify and remove hundreds of ‘weak’ cases from the system, it would improve the CPS’ conviction rates

  • The CPS systematically removed all guidance for sexual offences prosecutors and the public relating to the ‘merits-based approach’ to charging decisions in 2017 and 2018, without consultation. We believe the CPS must know that this change of guidance has had a negative impact – not least because – in a huge ‘u-turn’ revealed in October 2020 – they have now reinstated large extracts of the deleted guidance, word for word, on their website!

  • The number of rape prosecutions decreased by more than 50% in just two years, between 2016/17 and 2018/19: a record decline. And although there has been a very slight improvement since then, we are still seeing a worryingly low proportion of cases charged

  • Police officers, including senior police officers, have spoken out publicly about their concerns that the CPS are now applying an impossibly high threshold before they will bring charges

In the past few months we have been able to obtain further evidence, too, which we have not been able to publicise until the case is fully heard in open court next week. That, in part, is why this coming hearing is so important for us. We are calling for an honest, transparent examination of policy decisions that, we believe, have contributed to the current crisis in rape prosecutions. In addition to this, we hope too that the court will find the CPS’ change of policy unlawful – and forbid it from happening again in the future.

We will update you as soon as we can once the hearing ends. Again, thank you for your support - we couldn't have gotten this far without you! 

The EVAW Coalition and CWJ Team

Update 9

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Sept. 11, 2020

We need donations so that the Judicial Review can go ahead!

Dear Supporters

We are so delighted that the Court of Appeal recently overturned the previous High Court decision and AGREED OUR JUDICIAL REVIEW SHOULD GO AHEAD in our case against the Crown Prosecution Service for their failure to prosecute rape. However, now more than ever we need your help.

We feel we have arrived here against all odds, and as a small charity taking on a big legal institution that is the CPS, we could not have done it without you.

But the CPS, who have aggressively pushed for costs throughout proceedings, have challenged our efforts to get the costs 'capped' at £30,00. They argue that their costs of defending the case will be in the region of £115,000. A costs cap is therefore essential to protect ourselves from the significant amount of money they are spending to defend their position. 

As a result, the Court of Appeal have now decided to cap this amount at £75,000. This means that if we lose the case at the next hearing the amount EVAW would be liable to pay the CPS would be limited to this. In addition to the risk of being made to pay this, EVAW will also need to pay for unavoidable expenses including expert fees and court fees.

With what we have spent so far in preparing the case it means that we are still short of the amount required, and we need your support in ensuring the case can go ahead.

Our incredible lawyers at the Centre for Women's Justice and our wonderful Counsel are all working on this for ’no win, no fee' because they believe so strongly in the case. They only get paid if we win and the CPS are ordered to pay our legal costs.

We need to raise a new target of £90,000. Are you able to donate today? Every little helps. 

You will be helping us seek accountability and justice for victims and survivors of rape who have been let down by the CPS and the criminal justice system. 

If you aren't able to donate do share with your family, friends and colleagues to help spread the word. 

Thank you so much for all of your help, support and solidarity so far.

If you aren't already do follow us and Centre for Women's Justice on Twitter and/or Facebook to stay up to date with our work and campaigns.

Twitter @EVAWUK @CentreWJ

Facebook @endviolenceagainstwomen @centreforwomensjustice

And  sign up here for EVAW bulletins on campaigning, legal challenges, research projects and fundraising moving forwards. 

The EVAW Coalition and the Centre for Women's Justice 

Update 8

End Violence Against Women Coalition

July 30, 2020

Court of Appeal overturns decision - Judicial Review GRANTED!

Court of Appeal grants permission for judicial review of CPS Rape Policy – we are delighted!

Landmark decision at Court of Appeal overturns High Court refusal of examination of CPS rape prosecution policy and practice. Comes on same day latest CPS rape figures confirm prosecutions collapsing

A historic decision at the Court of Appeal today (30 July) has overturned a High Court decision in March 2020 that women’s groups should not be granted a full judicial review of CPS rape charging policy and practice. 

The Court went on to grant permission and directed that  the full judicial review be heard as soon as possible in the Court of Appeal itself.

We at the End Violence Against Women Coalition and our lawyers at the Centre for Women’s Justice, are delighted that we will now have the opportunity to properly lay all their evidence of a damaging and secretive change in CPS policy and practice on charging decisions in rape cases before the court, and are eager to do so.

Today’s judgement offers hope in a case that has attracted enormous public interest, brought by a small women’s charity and funded by hundreds of many small donations, many of which came from rape survivors. It shows the huge amount of support behind the case and we are so grateful for all the contributions made by our backers. The case has already led to commentary around “the effective decriminalisation of rape”.

The news comes on the same day that the new CPS figures were published which show the appalling state of affairs for survivors seeking justice after they have been raped – who currently face a 1 in 70 chance of their case being charged.

End Violence Against Women Director Sarah Green said:

“We’re delighted in today’s judgement. We're really pleased that the Court today showed enormous interest in the substance of our case and its serious public interest. We look forward to our day in court at the full hearing. We urge all those following our case and especially those who are elected and who have any position of authority or leadership in the justice system to read the evidence on our website and to ask questions about what is going on. This case has been brought because women have been denied justice and protection. Today validates our resistance to this.”

Centre for Women’s Justice Director Harriet Wistrich said:

“This historic decision by the Court of Appeal will allow a proper examination of the CPS approach. They have accepted it is arguable that the CPS did change their policy, failed to consult and their actions ultimately led to a fall in rape prosecutions which discriminates against women who are the majority of victims. This may amount to systemic illegality”


The statistics are published just two weeks after the Police and CPS were told they would have to stop using forms which demand over-intrusive examination of rape complainants’ mobile phones, following another CWJ case challenging this practice.

It is EVAW’s position, as set out in their Judicial Review against the CPS for their failure to prosecute rape, that this disastrous collapse in cases proceeding is a result of a covert policy change, meaning that in 2016-17 prosecutors were encouraged not to charge so called “weaker cases” with the aim of improving their conviction rate.

The evidence in the case is so powerful that EVAW, in an unprecedented move, made all the information they compiled public in June in order that individuals can see for themselves the weight behind the case.

Need for political attention - Women’s groups have consistently called on the ongoing Government Rape Review  to be made high priority, with Ministerial leadership. Today’s statistics show just how urgently needed change is to ensure that survivors are able to access justice in the future.

Update 7

End Violence Against Women Coalition

July 2, 2020

Damning Judicial Review Evidence shared with Government

Dear Supporters, 

It's been several months since our permission hearing against the CPS and again we want to express our huge gratitude to you for your support in this process, and to provide an update.

On 17th March the hearing took place at the High Court to decide whether our Judicial Review against the CPS for their failure to prosecute rape would have permission to continue and proceed to full hearing.

Unfortunately, and largely due to the fact that where there is a contest of facts in a Judicial Review the court has to be led by the defendant's (ie the CPS) version of events, we were not given permission. We have lodged an appeal of the decision and are awaiting a date for this hearing. 


Once the judgment was handed down at the hearing the CPS then argued that they should be paid all the legal costs they had incurred in defending the claim.  Fortunately, we were able to argue that the final figure should be limited to £35,000 rather than the high figure the CPS was arguing for. 

We did ask the CPS to consider not seeking their costs given that the money was raised largely from the donation of thousands of rape survivors and their supporters. Compared to the CPS - a large government body that's recently received a significant injection of public funds.  There is precedent for government bodies not to enforce costs in such public interest challenges. Unfortunately, this was declined and we have therefore now paid over these costs.

Remaining Funds

Despite this costs order, and thanks to your generosity of support there remains a sizeable sum of donations. The remaining funds will therefore be kept separate from our core work with clear terms of reference and clarity of purpose for us and the Centre for Women's Justice to continue campaigning and litigation around rape justice.

The Government Rape Review

On Tuesday we released the evidence from the Judicial Review. The story was covered by Guardian, Independent, HuffPost and Telegraph among others. 

We felt the need to publish this evidence and share it with the ongoing Government Rape Review to highlight the failings in the criminal justice system. We wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland alongside the Centre for Women's Justice, Imkaan and Rape Crisis England & Wales urging increased political leadership. You can read our letter here and see the evidence in full here. 

It also included an important briefing from Imkaan 'Key findings on sexual violence and Black and minoritised women’s interactions with the Criminal Justice System (Reclaiming Voice, 2020’).

We see the Rape Review as a crucial opportunity to interrogate why the criminal justice system is failing women and girls, and to create ambitious solutions and proposals. We will continue to push to ensure this work is prioritised going forward. 

Future Plans

We are determined to continue to be a powerful advocate for women and girls affected by violence. Our supporters (you!) are a really crucial part of this, adding power to our member's voices. We'd very much like to keep you updated on our activities - campaigning, legal challenges, research projects and fundraising moving forwards. If you would like to receive updates, please sign up here. Your email address will be stored securely and safely, only used by our team and never shared with external organisations. You can manage your preferences and unsubscribe at any time.

If you aren't already do follow us and Centre for Women's Justice on Twitter and/or Facebook to stay up to date with our work and campaigns.

Twitter @EVAWUK @CentreWJ

Facebook @endviolenceagainstwomen @centreforwomensjustice

We hope you are all keeping as safe and well as possible in these times.

All best,

The EVAW Team

Update 6

End Violence Against Women Coalition

March 19, 2020

Some sad news. We lost at court. But we won't give up!

Some sad news

You may have seen that, very sadly, the High Court refused permission on Tuesday for EVAW to bring our legal challenge against the Crown Prosecution Service.

We were all completely floored, and saddened, by this decision. We felt that we had a strong case that was capable of succeeding if put to the test at a full trial and it is enormously disappointing that the judges who presided over this hearing would not allow this.

The Decision

The judges did not say that they disagreed, as such, with the factual case that we had put forward. This was essentially that since 2016 the CPS has been encouraging prosecutors to approach charging decisions in rape cases like a ‘bookmaker’, betting on the odds of success, rather than adopting a ‘merits-based approach’, and that this has resulted in a disastrous drop in cases charged. Rather, the judges said that they were concerned that judicial review proceedings were not designed to resolve disputes of facts between claimants and public authorities, and that it was inclined to give the Director of Legal Services at the CPS the benefit of the doubt if he said there had been no significant or harmful change in approach.

This was very frustrating, not least because our Counsel tried to make clear in her submissions that actually - even based on the CPS’ own version of events - there were definitely very clear indications that it had changed its approach, and had brought about that change secretly, without considering its legal duties to the public. We also felt that the personal testimony we had been able to obtain from whistleblowers within the CPS - and of course, all of the many case studies that we relied on, with the help of survivors and supporters of EVAW and Centre for Women's Justice - should have given the court cause for real concern.

What This Means

Unfortunately, the decision yesterday means that we find ourselves at the end of the road as far as our legal action is concerned. Since we have a right to do so, we will be asking the Court of Appeal to consider overturning this decision, but we think this very unlikely because the decision was made by a very senior judge, the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, and will be hard to challenge.

Next Steps

Thanks to all the support we’ve had - and even though this particular legal action has reached the end of the road - we can reassure everyone reading this that EVAW & CWJ are by no means intending to stop now in our efforts to ‘out’ the truth, hold the CPS to account, and get practices to change. It will just mean a change of strategy and a bit of time - CWJ and EVAW are already in discussions about launching a new plan of action. We will keep you updated.

Apart from anything else, we feel are now in a position where we can consider publishing some of the evidence that EVAW and CWJ were able to gather in support of our case – to show know how misleading the CPS’ public position has been. We believe that this will help to keep the pressure up.

Thank you so much

We have all been deeply humbled by the support, the messages and the amount of money that was raised on Crowdjustice to enable this legal action to go forward - simply from people who cared - so a huge thank you to everyone who donated and shared our CrowdJustice page. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. The hundreds and hundreds of messages have given us much courage and determination.

In the end, we raised so much that even though the CPS have (gallingly!) asked the court to hold EVAW liable for some of its legal costs, there is more than enough in the Crowdjustice account to cover the amount that the CPS are asking us to pay. This means that EVAW itself has not lost money as a result of the legal action, and can continue to devote resources to campaigning around these issues. Even better: there is funding left over in the Crowdjustice fund which will now be used by EVAW and CWJ in our continuing work to tackle the criminal justice system’s ongoing failure to protect women and girls from male violence.

Huge thank you again for all of your support.

In solidarity,

The EVAW Coalition Team

Update 5

End Violence Against Women Coalition

March 16, 2020

Thank you! We are so grateful for your support

To all our supporters, 

Thank you. We are overwhelmed by your generosity and solidarity and are so so grateful for the support you have given us. Your donations have seen our CrowdJustice fund surge to almost £78,000 and means we will be walking into court tomorrow morning buoyed by your support. 

We now know that our hearing is set for 10.30 at the High Court tomorrow. We have cancelled the demo planned for outside due to the corona situation but are asking our supporters to tweet their support using the image below from around 9 am:

We will also be asking the Judges' permission to tweet during the proceedings, and if granted we will be tweeting throughout the hearing from the EVAW twitter account. 

We will give an update on this page tomorrow to let you know how the hearing went. 

We may not find out tomorrow if permission for a full hearing will be granted as the Judges may wait to give their decision, but again we will update you our supporters as soon as we know. 

Thank you once again for your generosity. We couldn't be here without you.

From all the EVAW and CWJ team

Update 4

End Violence Against Women Coalition

March 10, 2020

One Week Till Judicial Review Hearing: Urgent push for funds!

To all our supporters, 

Thank you for your support so far - we have an urgent update! 

It is one week till our JR hearing on 17th March.  Watch the video for information from our lawyer Harriet Wistrich at the Centre for Women's Justice. Please donate and share if you can! Also join us for a demo outside the Royal Courts of Justice - 9am on March 17th!

The link to our most recent press release is here:


 Women’s groups launch major 7-days-to-go CrowdJustice fundraising campaign as they prepare for court hearing where loss could mean paying CPS costs in full 

A small women’s human rights charity today (10 March) launched a major CrowdJustice fundraising drive as it announced that in just seven days time (on 17 March) it will face the Crown Prosecution Service at the High Court, where senior judges will consider the admissibility of their case claiming the CPS has “raised the bar” on rape charging decisions and is discriminating against and harming women.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, supported by its lawyers at the Centre for Women’s Justice, has already raised around £30,000 since it began the case against the CPS last Summer. But it is asking people to ‘chip in’ again because the unusual way in which the case is to be heard next week leaves the charity at risk of being required to pay the CPS’ costs in full if the case is stopped at this stage.

Much of the money already pledge was given in £10 and £20 from sums from women leaving messages to EVAW including:

“I want change. Because I won’t get justice for what was done to me.”

“I think my case is about to be dropped. I’m not an innocent-enough victim. If they take my phone they’ll find my sexual history which has been wild and joyful but I know they’ll use it against me. I think they’ll use all their resources to suggest a woman like me can’t be raped. But I was raped."

"I myself have been let down by our justice system and support other women who have also been grievously let down too. The way this crime is considered is out of date, unfair and completely unjust. Thank you for standing up for every victim."

"Thank you for standing up for me, no one will ever pay for the abuse done to me, except me for the rest of my life."

"This needs to be fought. Thank you for doing it for all of us."

If the EVAW Coalition is refused permission to proceed further next week, this money could be swallowed up by the very institution women’s rights campaigners accuse of going backwards on rape prosecutions.

EVAW Coalition Director Sarah Green said:

“We have felt compelled to bring this case because it is very clear from Government data, and from what women on the frontline are experiencing, that the bar has been raised on charging in rape cases – leaving women denied justice and dangerous offenders getting away with it.

“Last year there were almost 60,000 reports of rape to the police but less than 1,800 men charged and less than 1,000 convictions. This amounts to the effective decriminalisation of rape and we must now have the court’s view on whether key management decisions, policy and practice at the CPS are violating women’s human rights to protection and justice.

“We have to take this case – it is a matter of the highest public interest – but we face really serious costs, which a small charity like ours cannot reasonably hold in the bank all the time. We are so grateful to the many people who already pledged and shared our messages, and we hope that many more will show support in the bext few days as we get ready to go to court.”

Centre for Women’s Justice Director Harriet Wistrich said:

“The CPS are fighting this case aggressively. They deny they bare any responsibility for the fall in prosecutions, instead blaming the police and changes in disclosure since the Liam Allen case. At no stage have they shared the huge concerns underlying our challenge that more rapists are getting away with it and victims are being denied justice. Instead, they say that there is no basis for our challenge and that EVAW, a small women’s charity, should pay all their costs incurred so far.

“We need to remember why women who report rape to the police take the decision to do so – it is often for the sake of others and to try and stop other women being hurt. We are completely failing to honour this when our system so drastically fails women. Cases we have compiled as supporting evidence in this case include a woman who was held prisoner prisoner and threatened with a knife; a woman who was told that she left too much time before reporting which would be viewed negatively in court; and a woman who was repeatedly raped by her abusive husband and had a recording of one of the incidents. We need to fight this case and we need help.”

Update 3

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Dec. 10, 2019

We've had a response from the CPS!

Dear all,

We have now received a response from the Crown Prosecution Service to our application for a Judicial Review for their failure to prosecute rape. 

The CPS are trying to close down these proceedings by issuing blanket denials that there was any unlawful change in their policy relating to the prosecution of rape. They have also claimed that their costs incurred in responding to us amount to over £35,000. This is an enormous sum of money in pre-litigation costs. They are clearly fighting tooth and nail to bat us down.

We remain undaunted by the challenge and determined to hold the Crown Prosecution Service to account for its failings. 

Our lawyers are drafting a response and the next steps will be for the application to go before a Judge, who will decide whether the case will progress to Judicial Review. The Judge will also decide whether to grant our application for a costs capping order (meaning we will be protected from incurring all the legal costs of the CPS during these proceedings). This will be essential for us to be able to proceed with our legal action.  

Rape Justice is now an election issue and the need to improve the criminal justice system for rape survivors is contained in the Labour and Conservative party manifestos. EVAW has written to all the Party Leaders urging them to prioritise this issue, and done an analysis of the main parties manifestos. 

Today on Human Rights Day we ask you to share this page, spread the word, and if possible donate to our campaign.  

Once again we want to say a massive thank you for your support so far. We couldn't be here without you. 

In solidarity,

The End Violence Against Women Coalition & The Centre for Women's Justice 

Update 2

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Sept. 26, 2019

We've issued legal proceedings against the CPS!

We've posted a video update and thought you might also want to see our press release below - the story was covered in the Guardian, Telegraph and the Independent. Please share our page as we need as much support possible to get us to the next stage! 

EVAW commences Judicial Review proceedings against Crown Prosecution Service for failure to prosecute rape

Court documents are formally filed at High Court in milestone legal battle 2 weeks after statistics reveal lowest prosecution rate for rape on record.

A UK-wide Coalition of women’s organisations, represented by the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ), commenced legal proceedings against the Crown Prosecution Service at the High Court today (24 September), claiming that the CPS has covertly changed its policy and practice in relation to decision-making on rape cases, leading to a dramatic fall in the number of rape cases being charged.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) argues that this change in practice, and the resulting collapse in cases going to court, discriminates against women and girls, and is a major failure to protect their human rights. It is appalling that such a change should be implemented at a time when more women than ever are coming forward and reporting this serious crime.

Since the Letter Before Action to the CPS in June that outlined the case and was the first step in the Judicial Review proceedings, EVAW and the CWJ have been building and finalising the case and raising vital funds through their CrowdJustice campaign. The case has now been formally submitted to the High Court in order to go before a Judge.

EVAW Coalition Campaigns Manager Rebecca Hitchen said:

“In the last two months our lawyers at the Centre for Women’s Justice have been tirelessly building and finalising the case against the CPS and we are extremely confident in the evidence that has been amassed. Statistics released by the CPS just last week revealed the prosecution rate to be the lowest on record, showing the urgency and importance of this legal action.

“Every day survivors of rape are being failed by a criminal justice system which appears to have effectively decriminalised rape. We argue that CPS leaders have quietly changed their approach to decision-making in rape cases, switching from building cases based on their ‘merits’ back to second-guessing jury prejudices. “It is vital that the CPS, a state institution so central to women’s access to justice, is held to account for any internal policy change that has adversely impacted the likelihood of rape cases reaching court.

“While EVAW and CWJ are only two small organisations, going against the legal giant of the CPS, we remain undaunted by the prospect as we know their failings cannot continue unchecked. We have heard from so many women who’ve been raped, and from our member organisations who support survivors of rape, telling us about cases being dropped for unfathomable reasons.

“Given the strong public interest in this case we are hopeful that this matter goes before a judge at the earliest possible opportunity.

The CPS and Ministry of Justice’s own figures show that while rapes reported to the police have nearly tripled (up by 173%) between 2014 and 2019, the number of cases charged and sent to court is actually down by 51% across 5 years and is the lowest on record. (2)(3)

Harriet Wistrich, Director of the Centre for Women’s Justice who is bringing this case for EVAW, said:

“The CPS have said they will robustly defend this claim and deny any responsibility for the dramatic decline in prosecution, instead blaming the police and disclosure issues. However, we have undertaken a major research and evidence gathering exercise and have presented a large mass of compelling evidence from a range of sources, including expert statistical analysis, whistle blowing testimony, a dossier of 20 cases and accounts from police and frontline advocates, which together show that a small cultural shift at the top of the CPS has had a butterfly effect leading to the devastating changes.’

Katie Russell, National Spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales said:

“Rape Crisis England & Wales and its member Centres have witnessed the Criminal Justice System routinely and significantly failing victims and survivors of all forms of sexual violence and abuse for many years.

For the same considerable length of time, we have called for an urgent and complete overhaul of the System to improve access to justice for those subjected to these serious, traumatic crimes, which have wide-ranging, long-lasting impacts on their lives and health.

But while victims’ and survivors’ willingness to report to the police has continued to increase, criminal justice outcomes for them have sharply and alarmingly declined, particularly in the last two years. The situation is now beyond critical and cannot be allowed to continue. This is why we are supporting this legal action.”

The EVAW Coalition has been driven to action after many years of monitoring rape and justice system statistics and outcomes, and after hearing from its member organisations and many individual women about appalling decision-making by the CPS in rape cases. EVAW’s lawyers have collated a dossier of 21 cases where decisions have been made not to charge despite compelling evidence, and in some cases where men were known to be violent and some suspected of being serial offenders.

Rebecca* was raped at knifepoint and held prisoner for two days by her boyfriend, a man who was known by the police to be violent. Despite lots of evidence of violence against Rebecca, the CPS prosecutor dropped the case saying Whatsapp messages she had sent to placate her attacker could be misinterpreted by the jury.

Rebecca* said of her experience:

“I was told by the police that I had a really strong case – my rapist was known to them, and unknown to me he had a history of violence against previous partners, plus I had evidence of the attack. But a judgement was made about my physical reaction to being raped not being the right one, and the CPS dropped my case. I was denied my day in court and this man was able to walk free and not answer for what he did to me – and if he could do that to me, he could do the same to someone else.”

Gina* was raped repeatedly by her husband but the case was dropped because the CPS prosecutor felt the jury may not understand the dynamics of a coercive and controlling relationship. Rape in a domestic violence context is a large proportion of rapes reported to police and referred on to CPS.

Survivor Beth* said of her experience: “To have built the courage to finally go forward after other sexual offences and a rape had happened, and then for the case to be dropped like that, it made me think well if you’re a kid growing up with abuse then you really have nowhere to turn to.” 

A full media briefing, with more details about the challenge and case studies of cases dropped is available on request.

Spokespeople for EVAW and Centre for Women’s Justice are available to comment

The challenge is being funded by a CrowdJustice appeal:

* Names have been changed to protect the anonymity of rape survivors.

Update 1

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Sept. 16, 2019

CPS Annual Report - rape prosecutions the lowest on record

The latest shocking figures in the CPS’ annual report on prosecuting crimes of violence against women published yesterday - the 12 September - show that CPS decisions to prosecute rape are the lowest on record:

The report reveals the CPS charged 37.7% fewer rape cases in 2018/19 than it did in the previous year. 

- This is the second year in a row that the charging rate has dropped dramatically. Last year charges had dropped by 23% from 2016/17.

Five years ago, the CPS was charging almost double the number of cases that it prosecutes now - despite the number of rapes reported to the police increasing exponentially each year. 

We believe that the further precipitous drop in rape prosecutions is further evidence of the CPS’ unlawful change of approach to rape cases, and that the near-decriminalisation of rape must be stopped.

The CPS has recently sought to deter EVAW from bringing this legal action by suggesting that this important coalition of legal charities could become liable to pay significant legal costs if they are unable to prove their case.

Your donations to the Crowdjustice fund are therefore needed - as much as ever - to ensure that this action can go ahead. We ask that you please share this Crowdjustice link as widely as you can to encourage others to support our campaign.

EVAW is intending to issue proceedings within the next week with the funds that it has available, seeking permission for a full trial of the claim.

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