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Why do so many men get away with rape? Police officers, survivors, lawyers and prosecutors on the scandal that shames the justice system

In England and Wales perpetrators of one of the gravest violent crimes, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, are very unlikely to receive…



Today in England and Wales, an estimated 300 women will be raped. About 170 of those cases will be reported to the police. But only three are likely to make it to a court of law.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper’s damning speech on the crisis at the heart of our criminal justice system in May 2022 was echoed three months later by Dame Vera Bird, the outgoing victims’ commissioner for England and Wales. In her resignation letter, Bird described a “catastrophic” period for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) during which rape convictions have dropped to a historic low:

As victims’ commissioner, I have shone a spotlight on the dire state of rape investigations and prosecutions … While the pandemic is abating, the criminal justice system has only sunk deeper into crisis.

Despite initiatives such as the Operation Bluestone pilot, which seeks to develop a new way of dealing with rape cases among police forces, the shocking reality is that in England and Wales today, perpetrators of one of the gravest violent crimes – which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment – are very unlikely to receive any punishment at all. Many police officers and lawyers agree with the suggestion that rape has effectively been “decriminalised”.

As a former senior police detective, now criminologist, I regard the rate at which rape cases fall by the wayside at every stage of the criminal process as the greatest scandal facing our justice system. As public confidence continues to plummet, leading to ever-greater reluctance to report sexual assaults and rapes, I want to explain what’s going so badly wrong.

Protesters outside New Scotland Yard following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met Police officer, March 2021. Shutterstock

A deeply disturbing attrition rate

The police investigation was shockingly bad at communicating anything with me. It left me feeling like they weren’t doing anything or didn’t care, and eventually after a year my case was closed for lack of evidence. I felt as though they didn’t even try. (Rape survivor’s account extracted from this report.)

It’s not true to say that rapists in England and Wales are walking free from court in droves, because the vast majority never see the inside of a court building. Indeed, most rapes are never even reported. Evidence from both the Office for National Statistics and a coalition of rape survivor charities suggests that only two in every ten women who are raped report the crime to the police.

The reasons for this horrendous statistic demand a story of their own. However, this article focuses on the 20% of rape offences that are reported in England and Wales – around 67,000 cases each year. Of these, police send only 10% through to the CPS seeking prosecution – compared with 60% in Scotland, where the prosecutor’s office has a closer relationship with the police and is held responsible for a successful investigation, rather than working independently from the police.

The CPS typically agrees to prosecute half the cases it sees, meaning that in England and Wales, fewer than 2,500 rape complaints (less than 5%) end up with someone being charged and taken to court, of which only 1,400 (around 2% of all reported cases) result in a guilty verdict – a disturbing attrition rate.

Two protesters holding signs
Protesters at a ‘kill the bill’ march against the UK policing bill in London, April 2021. Shutterstock

In all parts of the UK, very few of the rape cases that are reported to the police are “stranger rapes” – yet these are invariably the ones that receive the most publicity. In fact, the vast majority of rape cases involve people in some kind of relationship – from a long-term partner or work colleague to a more fleeting acquaintance in a pub or a nightclub.

Unlike crimes such as burglary or car theft, where a suspect is typically never seen and has no direct contact with their victim, in some 90% of rape cases the suspect is identified – usually because the victim knows their assailant. You might imagine this would improve the prospects of a successful conviction but in fact, the reverse is true.

An adversarial system

There is no point discussing what can be done to improve the attrition rate in rape cases if we ignore the daunting “cliff face” that the adversarial criminal justice system presents when these cases reach a crown court.

There are very good reasons for this system of justice, which dates back to 1765 when English judge, Sir William Blackstone, published his influential Commentaries on the Laws of England. These included a principle that remains the basis of the adversarial criminal justice system in England and Wales today:

All presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously: for the law holds, it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.

Most people would surely agree they don’t want a system that accepts miscarriages of justice as a consequence of fighting crime. But there are other consequences of this principle that are problematic, particularly in cases of rape.

In our adversarial system, the main job of the defence team is to represent their client. If the client tells them the victim is making things up, they will try very hard to muddy the waters, to cast the victim in a bad light, and to convince the jury that he or she may be lying to them. That is what they are paid to do.

The prospect of going through this process has consequences that ripple backwards to the very start of a criminal investigation – not least for the person who has been raped, at a time when they are likely to be enduring a deep and lasting trauma.

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The Insights team generates long-form journalism and is working with academics from different backgrounds who have been engaged in projects to tackle societal and scientific challenges.

Everyone involved in each stage of a rape investigation and prosecution is aware of the hostile nature of the adversarial system, and what the person reporting the crime must endure if the case ends up in court. A consequence is that police officers and CPS lawyers can become despondent about the chances of their case ending with a successful outcome. According to a July 2021 report by the Police and CPS inspectorates:

Many investigators and prosecutors told us that rape cases are ‘difficult to prosecute’. [They] were very aware of the criticism of low charge and conviction rates, and of high-profile cases that have failed. As a result, the approach adopted sometimes appeared to be more focused on thoroughly exploring the weaknesses in a case, as opposed to focusing on its strengths.

Everything in silos

As a senior lecturer in police studies, I meet many serving detectives. For this article, I interviewed a dozen of them from four different English forces. Many appear demoralised and embarrassed that they are unable to investigate and detect more crime of all kinds.

Over the past decade, the policing system in England and Wales has been stripped of resources leading to prioritisation. One consequence is an increased reluctance to investigate “volume crimes” such as burglary, which in turn means many officers have become generally deskilled at criminal investigation. A detective inspector complained to me: “I have people joining my team from uniform who have never been to court and never taken a case through from start to finish.”

According to another detective sergeant, “everything is in silos” in his police force as a result of being so short-staffed:

If a response officer arrests someone, they just do a verbal handover to a detective sergeant. They never investigate anything because they are so short-staffed on the shift, and are just going from job to job. There is a general lowering of investigation standards – as a workforce, we are completely deskilled.

Because investigative skills are being lost and morale and expectations are so low – exacerbated by very public police failings ranging from the Jimmy Savile scandal to the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan Police officer – the ability of the police to investigate serious crimes such as rape has been severely hampered. I have heard several anecdotes from serving officers that lines of enquiry are not being followed, and that the search for evidence is less robust than it could be.

Many protesters lying down in Parliament Square
Protesters occupy London’s Parliament Square following the murder of Sarah Everard, March 2021. Shutterstock

In 2020, the victims’ commissioner reported that of 500 rape survivors surveyed, many said police officers had “treated them sensitively and made them feel believed, comfortable and supported”. However, she also highlighted “many accounts of the opposite”:

Officers who were insensitive and made the survivor feel disbelieved, judged and at fault. Some [victims] felt their experience was minimised or that police discouraged them from progressing their complaint.

Grooming of police investigators

The vast majority of rape cases get dropped during the police investigation stage in England and Wales. Fewer than 10% of rapes reported to the police are sent on to the CPS for a charging decision. What happens during this police investigation stage so that, every year, around 52,000 rape cases fall by the wayside?

Many police forces have a group of detectives who are specially selected and trained to deal with sensitive crimes such as rape and domestic abuse. In my experience, the thoughtfulness, understanding and empathy towards victims that these detectives display is impressive and valuable.

However, most forces are not resourced well enough to provide this coverage 24/7. This means a rape survivor’s first contact with the police may be with a regular duty detective or, in smaller forces, a uniformed constable, to whom they will have to explain details of the most traumatic and embarrassing thing that has ever happened to them.

Rape figures in England and Wales (year ending March 2020):

Police and CPS inspectorates report

Many rape survivors withdraw their accusations during the police investigation stage, before any charges are brought. Their impressions of the first police officers they encounter can be critical to this decision, affecting their confidence about whether to persevere with the case.

According to one officer, her force (and likely many others) splits responsibilities in a rape case. While a specially trained group of officers deal with the victim and gather their evidence in a professional and empathetic way, that package of evidence is then handed over to a regular detective who is tasked with gathering other evidence, as well as arresting and interviewing the suspect.

Under this system, another detective described a phenomenon which he called “perpetrator grooming of police investigators”:

This can happen when a force has a specialist rape team dealing with the victim, and regular CID who then interview the suspect. Because these latter officers rarely deal with the victim, they’re only hearing the suspect’s story all the time – and it is possible for a manipulative suspect to blame the victim and get an officer to feel sorry for them.

The victims’ commissioner’s report also highlighted this risk. A rape survivor told her researchers:

The officer said my partner’s messages after the rape [were] “a bit cheeky”. She said he was in love with me and didn’t realise that he had done wrong. It sounded like [the officer] sympathised with him.

Police officers are human beings. While they should not exactly reflect a cross-section of society on account of their vetting, training and monitoring, there have been recent high-profile findings of officers in London’s Met Police and other forces acting like misogynistic yobs – and worse.

In one case, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found 14 Met officers guilty of “multiple behavioural themes including toxic masculinity, misogyny and sexual harassment”. This report is one of the most shocking things I have ever read about police behaviour.

Protesters with a banner in front of a policeman
The damage to public confidence in the police, particularly in relation to rape cases, has been severe. Shutterstock

In July 2022, two other Met police officers were convicted of criminal conduct relating to sending grossly offensive racist and misogynistic WhatsApp texts, including threats to rape. These men were colleagues of Wayne Couzens, the serving Met officer who murdered Everard.

Read more: Making public sexual harassment a crime could help increase reports – but can women trust police to follow through?

Of course, the vast majority of police officers will have been appalled by such behaviour. But it’s also extremely unlikely that these are the only groups of officers writing messages like this in their WhatsApp groups. And while there are 43 separate police forces across England and Wales, few among the general public will differentiate between a media report on something happening in the Met Police and their own force. In short, the damage to public confidence in the police, particularly in relation to rape cases, has been severe and will take much work to reverse.

A downward spiral of pessimism

Even if a police detective has a highly professional and victim-focused approach, for altruistic reasons they may still dissuade a rape victim from going forward with their complaint. In 2021, the Police and CPS inspectorates highlighted a risk-averse attitude to taking rape cases all the way through to court. This could be for a number of reasons I describe as a “downward spiral of pessimism”.

  • Police detectives anticipate how hard it will be to persuade the CPS to prosecute the case.

  • Even if it is prosecuted, they know how difficult it will be to achieve a conviction in front of a jury.

  • And they understand the pain and distress the victim is likely to have to go through, often because of legal requirements with which the police themselves will burden them.

The victims’ commissioner’s survey of rape survivors includes numerous examples of investigating officers displaying a weary fatalism about the case’s chances:

[The officers] were upfront and honest. They told me it will be his word against mine … Police discouraged me at first, outlining what I would have to go through in court in a very negative way.

But there is another, less well understood reason for the officers’ widespread pessimism. On the few occasions that a rape allegation makes it all the way to a court room, the jury will often hear agreement from both parties that sex took place – but a dispute about whether consent was given. Detectives say consent is now the most common defence in rape cases – and the most difficult to disprove.

There has been a huge advance in DNA forensic technology since its first use in 1988. And TV programmes such as CSI Miami have alerted would-be rapists that if there has been physical contact with the victim, their DNA will likely be found by police forensic examiners. So while DNA technology is undoubtedly a deterrent for some potential perpetrators, it has also driven more rapists to rely on the defence of consent rather than no physical contact at all, and this can be more problematic for police and prosecutors to disprove. Without clear physical evidence such as injuries to the victim or a mobile phone recording, the police may believe that the chance of a jury being able to convict in a case of “her word against his” is slim.

If there has been a delay in reporting a rape, this can add to a police officer’s doubts that there could be a successful outcome. A detective highlighted a case where the female victim didn’t report it at the time because the offender was a distant relative:

[But] after a while she found out that he was in a relationship which gave him access to another young female, so she reported her rape to try and prevent another victim. My sergeant felt that because of the delay the jury may not convict so under the CPS guidelines, they didn’t think it was worthy of putting a file in asking for a charge.

Once again, pessimistic police officers, not trained lawyers, are second-guessing what might happen in a jury room, or what a CPS lawyer will decide in their office when they apply the “reasonable prospect of conviction” tests to the evidence bundle the police have provided.

Adding to the complexity facing these officers, it’s important to acknowledge that a very small number of reports of rape presented to the police are false. Two specialist rape and domestic abuse investigators told me that many police officers find it risky to challenge a rape victim’s story, even if they have doubts, because of a perceived fear of criticism that they are not sufficiently “victim-focused”. This phenomenon was also highlighted by a defence barrister who had been defending a woman for the crime of wasting police time after a rape report was found to be false. The barrister said it should have been obvious that the story was made up, but the police had been reluctant to challenge the account.

Read more: Victims are more willing to report rape, so why are conviction rates still woeful?

To many police officers, it can feel like a no-win situation. And the result, in England and Wales at least, is a systemic failure to see most rape reports through to the next stage of the criminal justice process, the crown prosecutor’s desk. Although an officer may have found absolutely no reason to doubt the victim’s word, they may still feel very pessimistic about the chance of a case making it all the way through to a guilty verdict.

(In Scotland, far fewer cases are stopped during the police investigation stage. This may contribute to greater confidence in the police and perhaps the criminal justice system as a whole, as evidenced by the latest Rape Crisis Scotland Report which indicates that some 70% of victims felt the police had been “supportive”.)

To charge or not to charge?

To understand what the phrase “a reasonable prospect of conviction” means in practice, I asked a former CPS chief crown prosecutor to explain how they make their decision whether or not to charge. He told me: “In theory, if it is more likely than not that a jury would convict given the evidence available, we should give them the opportunity to examine it.”

I then asked him to explain in percentage terms when a CPS lawyer would decide to prosecute a rape case:

In theory, at 51% – that is what “more likely than not” means. But if you ask me what actually happens in practice, I expect most CPS lawyers, especially in a rape case where they know the victim will get a hard time, they probably set the bar at about a 75% chance of a conviction.

He explained that CPS prosecutors can get criticism “from our own side” if too many cases are put through that are later withdrawn, either before or during a trial. He called this “a perverse incentive to not authorise a charge in rape cases”, since they are notoriously difficult to get through to conviction.

It is clear from interviewing police detectives that they always anticipate it will be hard to get a positive CPS charging decision. One detective sergeant said her local CPS was effectively asking the police to take responsibility for the judgment about whether a case was likely to succeed in court:

The CPS asks us to tick a box on a form saying whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction. Often you could get an acting sergeant – who has never been to court, with no legal training – guessing what a jury might think of the victim and her credibility. They know the CPS will be picky so they decide not to send the decision to CPS. Psychologically, they feel they are less likely to be criticised for not sending a case than for sending a weak case and wasting everyone’s time.

Again we see evidence of the “downward spiral of pessimism”, where each person is second-guessing what the next decision maker might do. But it gets worse. In her force (and this was also confirmed by an officer from another force), a detective sergeant explained:

The CPS imposed a rule that they would only deal with charging decisions in a rape case if the police had sent a full file of evidence. It takes about 200 hours to prepare a full file, so when the sergeant has to tell a detective to spend all that time on a case … If they anticipate the CPS will reject it anyway, there is a lot of pressure to just tick a box on a form – “insufficient evidence” – and get rid of the problem that way.

For other crimes, the police are allowed to send an “abbreviated” file to the CPS containing just the basic evidence, as long as they explain what other evidence will be available should they decide to run the case. Refusing to allow the police to do this in rape cases means that every statement must be taken, and potentially thousands of mobile phone messages must be examined, in advance of any CPS decision, at huge time-cost to an under-resourced police force.

Protester hplding up a sign
Many police officers and lawyers agree with the suggestion that rape has effectively been decriminalised. Shutterstock

By treating rape differently to other serious crime types it seems that, in some parts of the country at least, risk-averse CPS officials may be discouraging police supervisors from sending evidence files for a charging decision.

Since the CPS only sees about 4,000 of the initial 67,000 cases in England and Wales each year, it is perhaps easy for them to deflect criticism and say the problem of rape attrition lies elsewhere. Yet one of the reasons the CPS was set up in 1985 was to decide if there is a “reasonable prospect of conviction” and take that decision-making role away from the police.

In the face of such disastrous overall statistics, it is surely incumbent on the CPS to reclaim this role in a way that reduces police workloads – while, in cases of rape in particular, building police confidence that all cases with a reasonable prospect will indeed be prosecuted.

Why victims still don’t go ahead

There are two main reasons why victims still decide not to proceed even when a case is evidentially strong. The first is the length of time the prosecution process will take, as this police sergeant highlighted:

We have a lot of victims who want to retract their statements because the cases are taking too long. It can easily take over a year for a case to come to court and victims just want to move on. They don’t want the court cases dominating their lives.

It’s not just police officers who lament the long delays in cases coming to court. A criminal barrister recently wrote:

I am increasingly numb to the cruelty of telling broken human beings that the worst thing that ever happened to them will not be resolved for years. Trial dates creep into 2023 – then, 2024.

The UK government’s austerity policies from 2010 did not just affect the police side of the criminal justice system. Over the following decade, 164 of 320 magistrates’ courts in England and Wales (51%) were closed. According to the Law Society, by June 2021 these closures had contributed to a backlog of more than 386,000 cases in the magistrates’ courts and – because every serious case starts off with a brief hearing in a magistrates’ court – more than 58,000 delayed crown court cases, including many rape cases.

Of the few cases that end up going to court, for the first time the average duration between a rape offence occurring and the final verdict exceeded 1,000 days in 2021. Yvette Cooper commented on these delays in her speech to parliament in May 2021:

I was told about a horrendous rape case where the brave victim was strung out for so long and the court case was delayed so many times that she gave up because she could not bear it anymore. I have heard about police officers tearing their hair out over Crown Prosecution Service delays because they know that the victim will drop out if they cannot charge quickly.

The second major disincentive for rape survivors to proceed, even when the CPS approves a prosecution, is the intrusiveness of the process – and this has been accentuated by the mobile phone revolution. In her final report, the outgoing victims’ commissioner highlighted how rape campaigners coined the phrase “digital strip-search” to describe the police’s “routine requests” for a rape complainant to hand over their mobile phone almost immediately upon making a complaint.

Her comments followed the then-UK attorney general Suella Braverman issuing a directive in May 2022 which restated that, should a rape survivor take part in counselling before a criminal trial in England or Wales, any notes from these sessions may be examined by a police officer and possibly disclosed to the suspect’s lawyers to see if anything was said that could help their client’s defence.

Outrage over Braverman’s guidance led to 100 Labour MPs writing to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, warning that this could “cause many survivors to avoid seeking therapy, and make it more likely that cases will collapse when the prolonged stress of waiting for trials becomes too much”.

Protesters holding a banner
Disclosure of personal material has become a controversial issue in rape cases. Shutterstock

In fact, there is nothing new in this legal requirement placed upon the police. The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA) imposed an obligation on the police to pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry when undertaking a criminal investigation, whether these point towards or away from the suspect. If the police have any relevant material in their possession, or if they are aware that a third party holds relevant material, that material must be revealed to the CPS and then the defence team.

In the many cases of rape where the victim and defendant knew each other, any notes which may reveal the extent and nature of that relationship would be relevant for the defence team. In her 2022 guidelines, Braverman did not make counselling notes exempt from this process.

Read more: Why so many rape investigations are dropped before a suspect is charged

A police officer has to make the initial judgment about what material is relevant – the law says this is anything which may assist the defence case or undermine the prosecution case. And the police are well aware that they will be heavily criticised if they contribute to a miscarriage of justice.

But they are also clear that under our adversarial system, their decision will be subject to heavy scrutiny in the crown court if the defence barrister asks if there is any material, such as mobile phone texts or counselling notes, which that officer decided was not relevant. Many officers therefore take a risk-averse view by revealing anything to the CPS which could remotely be construed as being of assistance to the defence. As a detective inspector put it:

We seem to lose more cases because of [a lack of] disclosure than anything else. No one gets any prizes for causing a miscarriage of justice.

‘All my privacy was gone’

In 1996, those drafting the CPIA legislation probably did not imagine that a quarter of a century later, everyone would be carrying around storage devices that can hold 120 gigabytes of written and photographic data.

It is clear from the victims’ commissioner’s survey of rape survivors that many are very confused and upset at the intrusion into their private lives caused by handing over their phone to the police:

I was happy to provide my mobile phone for them to download all the vile messages that supported my assaults. The police said they would download all messages between me and my ex-husband, but they actually downloaded all of my phone – every message. All my privacy was gone.

Several survivors said the request made them feel like they were under suspicion – that they were the criminal:

I felt anxious, confused and infuriated. I was under far deeper investigation than the rapist. [The police] had refused to take physical evidence – my clothing from the night of the attack – but wanted to investigate my private life.

The victims’ commissioner stressed that a complainant “cannot be coerced into handing over their private digital information by threatening that the investigation will be closed should they fail to comply”. However, when the case finally comes to court, a defence barrister may well still ask for this information.

In the case of student Liam Allan, for example, his trial collapsed in December 2017 after it emerged that police had not disclosed a download of the rape complainant’s phone that had been taken during the investigation. Once the judge ordered this to be examined, it became clear that there was evidence within the text messages that the complainant had not been truthful in her evidence in court, and the case was abandoned by the CPS.

The police understandably consider it a reasonable line of enquiry to explore whether there was any previous or current relationship between victim and suspect, and so they routinely ask for a download of the victim’s phone. But the amount of data they are presented with is enormous. I was told by one officer:

It can take days to go through texts, WhatsApp messages and photographs, checking whether there has been any contact between the two parties, and any conflicting or supporting information relating to the rape report.

Inside the courtroom

The crown court can seem a hostile environment for rape survivors. But most judges are well aware that if they fail to give the defendant every opportunity to clear themselves, the case will end up in the appeal court – and they may be criticised for their handling of the trial. Judges are, of course, cognisant of cases like Allan’s, who might have become a victim of a miscarriage of justice because his defence team was not provided with information from the victim’s phone which would have exonerated him.

The victims’ commissioner called upon the government to “commit to free, independent legal advice for rape complainants … provided by a qualified lawyer who can counsel on matters affecting the victim’s human rights, such as disclosure”.

Excellent support and advice is already offered by organisations such as Rape Crisis, but I suggest there is merit in having an independent person, perhaps a lawyer or legal executive, appointed by the court to manage the disclosure issues around a victim’s private personal data – but this is a political issue that would require a law change, not just extra guidance.

If the UK’s system was based on the French “inquisitorial model”, it would be possible for the court to appoint its own expert that each side must rely on. The problem of intruding into a rape survivor’s privacy could then be alleviated by having an independent, legally trained expert take possession of the victim’s phone downloads, diaries and counselling notes and then, without revealing any content, provide a report assessing their relevance for the police, CPS, defence lawyers, and ultimately the trial judge. If agreed by the judge this independent report would then be binding on all parties.

Read more: How tackling 'rape myths' among jurors could help increase convictions at trial

In respect of certain sensitive material, such as the name of a police informant, trial judges already have a role in deciding whether it is in the public interest to disclose it to the defence team. So the principle in respect of a rape victim’s sensitive information is perhaps not that different – although expanding this system would require the Ministry of Justice to find additional budget to fund these experts.

Certainly, it is possible to make radical improvements to the criminal justice system when there is enough pressure to do so. In the late 1990s, for example, a system of trained, independent intermediaries was created to help vulnerable witnesses communicate with both the police and the courts.

A criminal justice disaster

Shamefully, the experience of rape victims whose cases actually reach the crown court is overwhelmingly negative. A report by the Centre for Women’s Justice contains harrowing quotes from survivors who have survived being cross-examined under the adversarial system. One admitted that:

Being cross-examined was as traumatic as the rape, except with the added humiliation of a jury and a public gallery.

Potential attempts to reduce these stresses include the extension of video-recorded witness testimony (common practice since 1991 for children and other vulnerable witnesses including rape survivors) to include the video cross-examination of witnesses by both legal teams long before the case reaches court.

The advantage for survivors is that their role in the trial would be over much sooner, which would perhaps alleviate one of the key reasons so many drop out even when the CPS wishes to send their case to court. However, these plans have been repeatedly delayed since the recommendation was first made by the Pigot Report back in 1989. Currently there are only three pilot sites trialling such a scheme for the witness category which includes adult rape survivors.

Nor will this eradicate the long wait for the outcome of the trial itself. The Labour party has announced plans to prioritise rape cases through the court system. But improving the courtroom process is far from a complete solution to our current rape crisis, of course, because few cases ever even reach a court.

The attrition rate at every stage, but particularly during the police investigation, should be regarded as a criminal justice disaster. It is so detrimental to public confidence that tinkering around the edges of a failing system is not enough.

As one detective constable said to me with a look of weary resignation:

I went on our rape team because I really thought I could make a difference to people’s lives. Yet we often seem to just let victims down and make things worse. It is so awful.

For you: more from our Insights series:

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Dr John Fox is affiliated with the Labour Party (member, non-activist), the British Society of Criminology, and the Association of Child Protection Professionals.

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Nonprofit Blood Donation Service Starts Matching Unvaccinated Patients With Donors

Nonprofit Blood Donation Service Starts Matching Unvaccinated Patients With Donors

Authored by Allan Stein via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




Nonprofit Blood Donation Service Starts Matching Unvaccinated Patients With Donors

Authored by Allan Stein via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Swiss naturopathic physician George Della Pietra believes people worldwide should be free to choose whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine injection or not.

He believes the same should hold for those receiving transfusions with “vaccinated” blood.

“The problem is right now we have no choice,” said Della Pietra, founder of the nonprofit Safe Blood Donation service in 2021, matching unvaccinated blood recipients with donors in 65 countries.

“It was very clear from the beginning that the COVID hype was way out of control,” Della Pietra said. “It was not as dangerous as they say it was.

“As a naturopath, I can make no sense of this pandemic, which was never really a pandemic. It leaves space for so many explanations.”

Della Pietra believes that an mRNA injection is more dangerous than the pharmaceutical companies are willing to admit. He said the growing numbers of adverse reactions are reason to question their safety and effectiveness.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that vaccinated and boosted people made up 58.6 percent (6,512) of the COVID-19 deaths in August—up from 41 percent in January.

We can no longer say this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Cynthia Cox, the Vice President of the Kaiser Family Foundation told The Washington Post in an article on Nov. 23.

Nearly 70 percent of the world’s 8 billion people have received at least one mRNA injection for COVID-19 since the vaccines began rolling out in 2021 at the height of the virus’s spread.

Each of the three primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccines contains COVID-19 “spike protein” fragments, which bind at the cellular level to stimulate an immune response to the virus.

Della Pietra believes these spike proteins produce “classic symptoms”—namely blood clots—that “horrified” him.

“I’ve never seen anything similar—and I’m not talking only about spike proteins,” Della Pietra told The Epoch Times in a phone interview.

It’s unbelievable because we never had this problem before. It’s been only two years. They want to keep the narrative [that an mRNA vaccine] is not dangerous.”

A man looks at his phone while donating blood at Vitalant blood donation center in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Although donated blood and plasma must undergo a cleansing process before transfusion, Safe Blood Donation says this is not enough to remove all mRNA ingredients.

“I’m talking about graphene oxide and non-declared inorganic components in the vaccine, which we can see in the blood. When I see them, I have no idea how we can get rid of them again,” Della Pietra said.

Looking at the abnormalities in vaccinated blood, he said, “OK, we have a problem.” People are receiving the vaccine “more or less through the back door.”

“You can not avoid it anymore.”

In the United States alone, there are approximately 16 million units of donated blood annually. Of those units, about 643,000 are “autologous”—self-donated—and the number is increasing yearly, according to

Della Pietra said that, to his knowledge, Safe Blood Donation, based in Switzerland, is the first unvaccinated blood donation service of its kind.

“So, there is no blood bank with mRNA-free blood yet, not even with us,” Safe Blood Donation states on its website.

“And, although we have already asked hundreds of clinics, at the moment—at least in Europe—all of them still refuse to allow the human right of free blood choice with them—or at least do not want to be mentioned because otherwise, they fear reprisals.”

A nurse works as employees donate blood during a blood drive held in a bloodmobile in Los Angeles on March 19, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Della Pietra said the main goal of Safe Blood Donation is not to start an mRNA-free blood bank. Rather, it is to make it possible to match unvaccinated blood donors and unvaccinated recipients, “which we bring together in a clinic (medical partner) that allows the choice of blood donor.”

Medical website Seed Scientific said that blood banks and biotech companies will offer as much as $1,000 monthly for blood donations.

While Della Pietra said there are no unvaccinated blood banks, he sees the demand for unvaccinated blood rising.

This is why I decided to do [SafeBlood Donation]. I wanted to make a network for unvaccinated people looking for a blood donor because they need it—whether they have scheduled surgery or an emergency,” he said.

Safe Blood Donation began working in the United States about a month ago, building an infrastructure of medical partners.

However, in the current medical environment, central blood banks such as the Red Cross do not segregate their blood donations based on their vaccinated or unvaccinated status.

Rendering of SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins binding to ACE2 receptors. (Shutterstock)

“The American Red Cross does not facilitate designated donations for standard blood needs, as this process often takes longer and is more resource intensive than obtaining a blood product through our normal process,” the Red Cross told The Epoch Times in an email.

In a small number of situations, there is an exception for rare blood types where compatible blood types are extremely difficult to find. A rare blood type is defined as one that is present in less than 1/1000 people.

“We want to emphasize that the Red Cross adheres to all donor and product requirements as determined by the FDA to ensure the safety of the blood supply and is committed to continuing to provide life-saving blood products for patients across the country.”

The National Library of Medicine said that “across study sites, the average hospital cost per unit transfused was $155 and the average charge per patient was $219.”

Still, the Red Cross, which provides 40 percent of the nation’s blood donations, said “no studies” demonstrate adverse outcomes from transfusions of blood products collected from vaccinated donors.

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Tyler Durden Sun, 12/04/2022 - 20:55

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Spread & Containment

Pedestrians choose healthy obstacles over boring pavements, study finds

Up to 78% of walkers would take a more challenging route featuring obstacles such as balancing beams, steppingstones and high steps, research has found….



Up to 78% of walkers would take a more challenging route featuring obstacles such as balancing beams, steppingstones and high steps, research has found. The findings suggest that providing ‘Active Landscape’ routes in urban areas could help tackle an “inactivity pandemic” and improve health outcomes.

Credit: Anna Boldina

Up to 78% of walkers would take a more challenging route featuring obstacles such as balancing beams, steppingstones and high steps, research has found. The findings suggest that providing ‘Active Landscape’ routes in urban areas could help tackle an “inactivity pandemic” and improve health outcomes.

[A copy of the paper and images can be downloaded here]

Millions of people in the UK are failing to meet recommended targets for physical activity. Exercising “on the go” is key to changing this but while walking along a pavement is better than nothing it causes no significant increase in heart rate so only qualifies as mild exercise. Walking also fails to significantly improve balance or bone density, unless it includes jumping, balancing, and stepping down.

But would adults opt for such ‘fun’ routes if given the choice? A University of Cambridge-led study published today in the journal Landscape Research suggests that with the right design, most would.

Previous research on ‘healthy route choices’ has focused on people’s likelihood of walking instead of using transport. But this study examined how likely people are to pick a more challenging route over a conventional one and which design characteristics influenced their choices.

Lead author, Anna Boldina, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture, said: “Even when the increase in level and extent of activity level is modest, when millions of people are using cityscapes every day, those differences can have a major positive impact on public health.”

“Our findings show that pedestrians can be nudged into a wider range of physical activities through minor changes to the urban landscape. We want to help policy makers and designers to make modifications that will improve physical health and wellbeing.”

Boldina began this research after moving from Coimbra in Portugal – where she found herself climbing hills and ancient walls – to London, which she found far less physically challenging.

Working with Dr Paul Hanel from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex, and Prof. Koen Steemers from Cambridge, Boldina invited almost 600 UK residents to compare photorealistic images of challenging routes – variously incorporating steppingstones, balancing beams, and high steps – with conventional pavements.

Participants were shown images of challenging and conventional tarmac routes and asked which route they would choose. The researchers tested out a range of encouraging / discouraging parameters in different scenarios, including crossing water, shortcuts, unusual sculptures and the presence / absence of a handrail and other people. Participants were asked to score how challenging they thought the route would be from 1 (as easy as walking on level tarmac) to 7 (I would not be able to do it).

Eighty per cent of the study’s participants opted for a challenging route in at least one of the scenarios, depending on perceived level of difficulty and design characteristics. Where a challenging option was shorter than a conventional route, this increased the likelihood of being chosen by 10%. The presence of handrails achieved a 12% rise.

Importance for health

The WHO and NHS recommend at least 150 minutes of ‘moderate’ or 75 minutes of ‘vigorous’ activity spread over a week, including a variety of activities aimed at enhancing bones, muscles, and agility to stay healthy. In addition, adults over 65 are advised to perform strength, flexibility, and balance exercises.

Boldina said: “The human body is a very complex machine that needs a lot of things to keep working effectively. Cycling and swimming are great for your heart and for your leg muscles but do very little for your bone density.”

“To improve cardiovascular health, bone density and balance all at once, we need to add a wider range of exercises into our routine daily walks.”

Psychology of choice

Co-author Dr Paul Hanel said: “Children don’t need much encouragement to try out a balance beam but we wanted to see how adults would respond, and then identify design modifications which made them more likely to choose a challenging route.”

“We found that while embarrassment, anxiety, caution and peer pressure can put some adults off, the vast majority of people can be persuaded to take a more challenging route by paying careful attention to design, safety, difficulty level, location and signage.”

The proportion of participants who were willing to pick a more challenging route varied from 14% for a particular balance beam route to 78% for a route involving wide, low stepping stones and a log with a handrail. The least intimidating routes were found to be those with wide, steady-looking balancing beams and wide steppingstones, especially with the presence of handrails.

The researchers suggest that routes that incorporate more difficult challenges, such as obstacle courses and narrow balancing beams, should be placed in areas more likely to be frequented by younger users.

The participants expressed a range of reasons for picking challenging routes. Unsurprisingly, the study found that challenging routes which also acted as short cuts appealed. Up to 55% of participants chose such routes. The researchers also found that the design of pavements, lighting and flowerbeds, as well as signage helped to nudge participants to choose more challenging routes. Many participants (40%) said the sight of other people taking a challenging route encouraged them to do the same.

The participants who picked conventional routes often had concerns about safety but the introduction of safety measures, such as handrails, increased uptake of some routes. Handrails next to one steppingstones route increased uptake by 12%.

To test whether tendency to choose challenging routes was linked to demographic and personality factors, participants were asked to answer questions about their age, gender, habits, health, occupation, and personality traits (such as sensation seeking or general anxiety).

The researchers found that people of all levels of activity are equally likely to pick a challenging route. But for the most difficult routes, participants who regularly engaged in strength and balancing exercises were more likely to choose them.

Older participants were as supportive of the concept as younger ones but were less likely to opt for the more challenging routes for themselves. Nevertheless, across all age groups, only a small percentage of participants said they would avoid adventurous options completely.

The study applies the idea of “Choice Architecture” (making good choices easier and less beneficial choices harder) plus “Fun theory”, a strategy whereby physical activity is made more exciting; as well as some of the key principles of persuasion: social proof, liking, authority, and consistency.

Future work

The researchers hope to run experiments in physical test sites to see how intentions convert into behaviour, and to measure how changes in habits improve health. In the meantime, Dr Boldina continues to present her findings to policy makers.

Critics might question the affordability and cost effectiveness of introducing ‘Active landscape routes’ in the current economic environment.

In response, the researchers argue that installing stepping stones in a turfed area can be cheaper than laying and maintaining conventional tarmac pavements. They also point out that these measures could save governments far greater sums by reducing demand for health care related to lack of exercise.


A. Boldina et al., ‘Active Landscape and Choice Architecture: Encouraging the use of challenging city routes for fitness’, Landscape Research (2022). DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2022.2142204

Media contact

Tom Almeroth-Williams, Communications Manager (Research), University of Cambridge: / tel: +44 (0) 7540 139 444

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Tesla’s Chinese Rivals Set New Records

Tesla’s Chinese EV rivals are putting pressure on the market leader with monthly records.



Tesla's Chinese EV rivals are putting pressure on the market leader with monthly records.

Tesla's competition in the electric vehicle market has been heating up over the past two years as more EV manufacturers ramp up production and deliveries.

Elon Musk's Austin, Texas-based company has seen its share of the EV market shrink from about 79% in 2020 to 75.8% in June 2022 to about 65% today as rival automakers continue to ramp up their factories.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report still has a lot of good news to report through the first three quarters of 2022, as it is well on its way to delivering 1 million EVs with 908,000 delivered in the year through Sept. 30 after delivering 343,000 in the third quarter. The company also rolled out its newest EV on Dec. 1 with the delivery of its Semi Trucks.

While Tesla's top competitors in the U.S. hold small percentages of the market -- Ford  (F) - Get Free Report, 7%; Kia, 5%; Chevrolet, 4%, Hyundai, 4% -- these companies and smaller ones are setting records at delivering EVs as they increase production.

Ford reported in November that it had a 103% year-over-year increase in EV sales. Kia in the same month said it had a 133% increase in sales year-over-year. Volkswagen reported in November that it had reached its delivery benchmark of 500,000 units a year earlier than expected after recording  a 25% year-over-year increase in deliveries in October.


Pressure from Chinese Rivals

Tesla is seeing increased pressure coming from China, and not just from covid pandemic-related restrictions and factory closures. Chinese rivals Nio  (NIO) - Get Free Report, Li Auto  (LI) - Get Free Report, and BYD all had impressive numbers for November.

BYD reported that it sold 113,915 fully electric vehicles in November, which was a 147% increase year-over-year. It also sold 116,027 plug-in hybrids, which was a 164% year-over-year increase.

Nio on Dec. 1 reported it delivered 14,178 vehicles in November, a new record-high delivery amount, for an increase of 30.3% year-over-year. Cumulative deliveries of Nio vehicles reached 273,741 as of Nov. 30.

Nio's November deliveries consisted of 8,003 premium smart electric SUVs including 4,897 ES7s, and 6,175 premium smart electric sedans including 3,207 ET7s and 2,968 ET5s.

Nio said that it plans to further accelerate production and delivery in December.

Li Auto on Dec. 1 said that it delivered a record-high 15,034 EVs in November for an 11.5% year-over-year increase. Cumulative deliveries through November reached 236,101.

Li Auto SUV Sales

“We set another monthly record with 15,034 deliveries in November," Yanan Shen, co-founder and president of Li Auto said in a statement "In particular, Li L9 has been the sales champion of full-size SUVs in China for two consecutive months since it commenced delivery, establishing it as a top choice for six-seat full-size family SUVs in China."

Shen said that the Li L9 SUV in November received the highest safety rating for tests on the driver and passenger sides from the China Insurance Automotive Safety Index.   

NIO and Tencent Holdings on Nov. 28 entered into a strategic cooperation agreement to further deepen partnership in the areas of autonomous driving related cloud services, intelligent driving maps and digital ecosystem to provide users with experiences beyond expectation, according to a statement.

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