Keir Starmer underlined that according to an official crime survey of England and Wales, at least 85 percent of sexual offenses were not reported to the police.
"What are the legal mechanisms for victims coming forward? We need to get away from the notion of police stations being where people report crimes, particularly sexual crimes. We need to be more innovative," Keir Starmer was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Starmer welcomed an initiative made by an unnamed company in the north-east of the country, where employees can talk to a specialist member of staff instead of going to a police station.
The former director of public prosecutions in particular criticized the way victims are treated in the courtroom, calling for more understanding and sympathy. He also called for the introduction of mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse and referred to the Rochdale cases.
About sexual assault prosecutions: These are the numbers in the United Kingdom. LOOK. AT. THE. FINAL. TOTAL. pic.twitter.com/2Ts2LTtuTi— SYMONDS SAYS (@SYMONDSxSAYS) 20 ноября 2014
"What I found in those files was that actually [the prosecutors] were trying to do their job in Rochdale. At that stage we were asking the prosecutors and police to assess the likelihood that this victim will be believed. So, they were playing out a credibility test and that's normally carried out on paper," Starmer said.
In 2008 and 2009, a group of Pakistani and Afghan men sexually exploited 47 teenage girls in the Greater Manchester town of Rochdale. The gang members were only convicted in May 2012, even though the victims reported the incidents to police straight after the abuses took place.
According to Starmer, even though the prosecutors "were trying to do their job in Rochdale," they failed to prosecute the offenders immediately, as no one thought the victims would be believed in court.