Keir Starmer has pledged to take a “zero-tolerance approach” to violence against women and girls as fresh statistics reveal that almost 97% of sexual offences are failing to result in charges.
He said his Labour government will roll out tougher sentences for rape, stalking and domestic murder, and introduce a domestic abuse register to make it easier for officials to track offenders.
Marking White Ribbon Day, Starmer will visit a domestic violence refuge in the Midlands as he recommits to fast-tracking rape cases and supporting survivors.
Home Office figures show that under the Conservatives, the charge rate for rape is at a record low of 1.5%, with sexual offences at just 3.1% over the last year, despite a record number of such offences being recorded by the police.
Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions, said the issue has become personal for him. He campaigned in support of Jane’s Law, an amendment to the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill, to ensure that victims’ safety was better protected. Jane Clough, an A&E nurse, was murdered by her ex-partner while he was awaiting trial for her rape.
“This issue is personal for me,” Starmer said. “It is a blight on society that destroys lives. That’s why, when I was director of public prosecutions, I worked tirelessly to tackle violence against women and girls.
“Under my Labour government, the law will protect women and girls – with tougher sentences for those who harm them, proper steps introduced to monitor violent perpetrators, and a court system that is on the side of brave victims and doesn’t leave them waiting years for justice.”