Rape: The Forgotten Issue? A European Research and Networking Project

January 1, 2000


The original idea for this project emerged from an international workshop on rape and was developed by three UK groups (CWASU, South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre and Campaign to End Rape), supported by partners from Ireland (The Network of Rape Crisis Centres, Ireland) and Finland (Rape Crisis Centre, Tukinainen). The role of CWASU in this partnership was to conduct research on the criminal justice response to rape across Europe and to provide consultancy and technical assistance on the development of a European Network of groups responding to rape. Based on this project, the research report provides an analysis of:

  • the prevalence of rape and attrition rates across Europe;
  • issues that arise in prosecuting rape cases;
  • the extent and organisation of support services for rape survivors;
  • the need for, and potential roles of a European Network on rape and sexual assault.

Main Findings:

  1. Extensive evidence of the extent to which rape has become a ‘forgotten issue’ across Europe in terms of awareness, funding, policy reform and research.
  2. The lack of basic information and research on rape across Europe, which severely limits the possibilities for the promotion and co-ordination of actions and measures aimed at provision, protection and prevention of violence against women.
  3. In the context of the under-reporting of rape, in a number of European countries reporting is actually decreasing, remaining stable in others, and increasing in some.
  4. In every country involved in the study serious problems in the responses to rape reported to the police persist, meaning that across the continent there is a general failure to bring rapists to justice.
  5. The neglect of rape as an issue by European governments and professionals has contributed to a situation where barriers to justice have increased rather than decreased.

See Research Report: Rape: The Forgotten Issue

Grant Holder: South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre (SERICC) with CWASU as research partners

Sponsor: The European Commission Daphne Programme

  • Project Team:
    Linda Regan, Liz Kelly