JUST one in every 60 rape cases reported in Hampshire ends with a suspect being charged, new figures show.

The rate is significantly lower than for crime overall in the area, with sexual violence charity Rape Crisis saying that the justice system is failing victims and survivors of rape.

Between April and June this year, 538 rape cases were closed by Hampshire Constabulary. Of those, just nine resulted in a suspect being charged or ordered to appear in court.

Charges were less likely for rape than other sexual offences in Hampshire, for which five per cent of the 865 cases reported resulted in a suspect being charged.

For other cases of violence against the person, 10 per cent resulted in a charge.

In nearly half of rape reports, the case was closed because of lack of evidence, with the victim unwilling to support further police action.

Across England and Wales, a suspect was charged in four per cent of rape cases and eight per cent of other sexual offences.

Katie Russell, of Rape Crisis England and Wales, said: “These figures are extremely concerning, but reflect what we already know: that the criminal justice system is currently failing victims and survivors of rape, sexual abuse and all forms of sexual violence.

“A complete overhaul of the criminal justice system in relation to sexual offences is long overdue, as is sustainable, dedicated funding for specialist sexual violence services, to ensure victims and survivors have access to criminal and social justice.”

Across England and Wales the rate at which charges are brought in rape cases has dropped sharply in recent years. In 2014-15, 22 per cent of cases resulted in a charge or summons to court – though the number of cases reported has also increased significantly.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for adult sex offences and rape, assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt, said: “Significant improvements in the specialist training of officers, greater access to sexual assault referral centres, and improved crime recording practices are all aimed at supporting those who take the brave step in coming forward and improving the service they receive.”

The rate at which reports of crimes could lead to a charge were affected by many factors, including the length of time needed to investigate victims’ reports and review digital and third-party evidence, he said.

A spokeswoman for the CPS commented that fewer rape cases were referred by police last year, but 47 per cent of those received were charged.

She said: “We have worked hard in recent years to improve how we deal with rape.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: “Of course we are disappointed with the numbers of cases that result in a conviction but these types of crimes are extremely difficult to investigate and to be able to prove to a standard of beyond all reasonable doubt. “What is encouraging is that victims and survivors of rape have the confidence to report such crimes to the police.”