Low conviction rates for rape cases

Eva Michálková


Low conviction rates for rape cases

Read a diploma thesis written by Petra Trglavcnik, who spent an internship in proFem and did her research on low conviction rates for rape cases.

The Czech Republic has a significant problem of very few cases of rape resulting in a court conviction. In 2016 from a total of 649 reported cases of rape only 227 resulted in a court conviction (Czech statistical office, 2017). Furthermore, in those 227 cases, only 113 resulted in a prison sentence. The statistics on attrition of rape cases in the Czech Republic are available, but there is a gap in the literature on the reasons that are causing this attrition in the Czech Republic, therefore, this research identified this gap and aimed to collect primary data in order to create new knowledge on this issue. Furthermore, rape myths are widespread and highly accepted in the Czech Republic. According to the research conducted by Amnesty International, almost two thirds (63%) of adults in the Czech Republic believe that in some cases the woman is at least partially responsible for her rape. Therefore, this study aimed to research what influence does rape myth acceptance have on the attrition of rape cases and court sentencing in the Czech Republic. In order to fulfil the main aim of this study, to examine the crime of male to female rape in the Czech Republic a total of three (N =3) semi structured interviews were conducted with the employees of a victim support organisation in the Czech Republic.

The study identified key issues that are causing low conviction rates for rape cases in the Czech Republic as: revictimization of the victim in each phase of the rape case, rape myth acceptance, inadequate police practice, inadequate court practice, lack of education of society and criminal justice employees, low awareness of victims’ rights and violations of the mentioned rights, victim refusing to cooperate or withdrawing her statement, lack of witnesses and physical evidence and victims not reporting the rape right after it happens. This study also provides a discussion on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which the participants identified as the possible solution for improving the majority of the key reasons for low conviction rates.

You can read the whole thesis A Critical Assessment of the key reasons for low conviction rates for rape cases in the Czech Republic here.