Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has met with Helen Parr, Director of Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA).

During the meeting, on 28th September, Giles heard how CARA aims to help victims and survivors of sexual violence and sexual abuse, by providing independent specialist support and promoting and representing their rights and needs. CARA currently provides services from its head office in Colchester, and also operates from outreach premises in Braintree, Chelmsford, Harwich, Great Dunmow and Clacton-on-Sea – CARA currently support 400 people in the Clacton constituency.

Formed in 1989, CARA has grown steadily and is now working with adult women and men, young people, and children from across Mid and North-Essex. Since 2008, the organisation has grown steadily, with increases in income, staff, and reputation, whilst also extending the range of services they provide for victims and survivors.

Essex is one of the worst performing counties in England when it comes to criminal justice outcomes for rape victims. In 2016/17, the latest data set available:

  • There were a total of 1078 police recorded rapes (an increase of around 10% on 2015/16).
  • 721 were adults (16+) and 357 were children. 
  • 246 were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) (23% of reported rapes).
  • CPS made decisions to charge on 47 (19% of referrals).   This means that only 4% of total reported rapes resulted in a charge.  This number is also significantly less than the figure for 2015/16, when CPS made the decision to charge on 122 (a decrease of 61%).
  • Over the year 112 rape cases went to court.  Of these, 45 resulted in a conviction (40%).  In the previous year, 51% of the 122 cases that went to court resulted in a conviction, so the conviction rate has dropped by 11%.

If you are a victim of any type of sexual violence you can access CARA’s services here:

Following the meeting, Giles said:

“I would like to thank Helen for taking the time to meet with me, and I would like to thank her, and her staff, for all they do to help those going through some of the worst experiences of their lives. It is clear to me that we need to improve the situation for victims. They need real justice and I will be doing all I can in Westminster to change national policy with that outcome in mind.”