Study Highlights Failings in Prosecution of Rape Cases in the European Union
Monday, May 18, 2009 3:43 PM

The Child & Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) has concluded a new study on rape reporting and prosecution in the European Union.  The study is a follow-up to a previous report, “Rape: Still a forgotten issue,” which examined the issue of attrition in reported rape cases and the lack of reliable statistics on rape in many European countries.  A summary of the newest study was presented at a meeting of CWASU, the European Policy Action Center on Violence Against Women (EPAC VAW), and the European Women’s Lobby.  The study focuses on attrition rates, institutional barriers to effective prosecution, and recent legislative advancements.


The study looks at reporting rates for 33 European Union member and accession states, Iceland, and Switzerland, and contains a more in-depth analysis based on case studies from 11 western and central European countries.  Reporting rates vary dramatically across Europe, but attrition rates, the percentage of reported rapes that fail to reach trial, remain high and in many countries have actually increased in the past ten years.  While a few countries, such as Austria, have created new legislation to assist victims of sexual assault before and during the trial, the number of reported rapes in the countries studied that were tried in court remains a low 4-39%.

To access the full report summary, please click here.

Compiled from: “Rape in the European Union: Different systems, similar outcomes?” EPAC VAW (23 April 2009); Kelly L. and Lovett, J., "Different systems, similar outcomes? Tracking attrition in reported rape cases in eleven countries," CWASU (April 2009). (PDF, 10 pages).