THE CONVICTION rate for rape cases brought to court in West Yorkshire is only 21 per cent, new figures have revealed.

Ministry of Justice statistics found only around one in five rape cases resulted in the defendant being found guilty. In 2016, the conviction rate was 25 per cent.

Last year the force brought 307 cases to court, and 65 resulted in convictions.

The conviction rate is lower than for other sexual offences, and it's also worse than other serious crimes such as grievous bodily harm which is 36 per cent.

It is a similar picture across England and Wales, with one in five rape cases successfully prosecuted, according to the Ministry of Justice.

This data includes cases where rape is the principle or most serious offence, so incidents where the victim was killed would be counted as murder or manslaughter.

Dr Hannah Bows, senior lecturer in criminology at Teeside University, said that while it was hard to judge without knowing the details of cases, the figures were "particularly surprising".

"It shows something is going wrong either with charging decisions being made by the Crown Prosecution Service or what's happening in court.

"Something is going wrong because the evidence required in rape cases to get a case brought to court is so high. Any question marks and the case is unlikely to go forward.

"That's why it's so frustrating when people say there are loads of false rape cases because it's not true."

Dr Bows is also concerned these figures will put people off from reporting rape allegations.

"It's a pretty horrible and pretty lengthy process anyway," she explained.

"Often the victim feels like they're on trial. If someone said to you do you want to have your whole life exposed for around a one in five chance of success you'd probably say no."

Lee Duffy, 27, from Bierley Lane, Bradford, was jailed in 2017 for eight years for three separate attacks on women over a three-year period.

Meanwhile, Roy Uttley, from Bradford, was given 22 years in prison after a trial at Bradford Crown Court for charges of rape and sexual assault.

A CPS spokesperson said: "The latest CPS figures show the volume of convictions following an allegation of rape reached 2,991 in 2016-17 across the country, with a conviction rate of 57.6%.

"We have almost doubled the number of specialist prosecutors in our dedicated Rape and Serious Sexual Offence Units and improved the support we offer victims through criminal proceedings."

DCI Fran Naughton of West Yorkshire Police’s Safeguarding Unit, said; “West Yorkshire Police deploy specially trained officers respond to reports of victims of rape and serous sexual offences in order to deliver the best care and service possible.

"We work to ensure that investigations are thorough, open and transparent and work very closely with the CPS who ultimately make charging decisions.

"Our absolute focus in any investigation is the victim and we are committed to securing justice for them and giving them all possible support through the criminal justice process."