CPS rape guidance
The Crown Prosecution Service has issued guidance to UK police on the terms of consent in rape casesGetty

UK police forces have been given guidance by the Crown Prosecution Service on what the terms of consent are in rape cases after the Jimmy Savile scandal contributed to an anticipated 30% rise in rape trials.

The CPS has provided forces with "toolkits" that outline when a rape victim was either too incapacitated through drink or drugs to consent or when they were manipulated as a result of an "unequal relationship".

It addresses rape in cases where the suspect held a position of power over the potential victim – either as a teacher, employer, doctor or gang member.

Investigators will focus on finding out how the suspect knew the complainant was saying yes and without coercion.

Director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders said society had a habit of blaming rape victims for confusing the issue of consent.

"Consent to sexual activity is not a grey area – in law it is clearly defined and must be given fully and freely," Saunders said.

"It is not a crime to drink, but it is a crime for a rapist to target someone who is no longer capable of consenting to sex though drink.

"These tools take us well beyond the old saying 'no means no' – it is now well established that many rape victims freeze rather than fight as a protective and coping mechanism."

Sexual Offences Act 2003

  • Consent is defined by section 74 Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • It is only achieved when someone agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice
  • Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity
  • In investigating the suspect, it must be established what steps, if any, the suspect took to obtain the complainant's consent and
  • The prosecution must prove that the suspect did not have a reasonable belief that the complainant was consenting.

Source: CPS

The CPS estimates the number of rape cases going to trial this year will be about 30% more than in 2012/13. Reporting of sexual offences is up 22%.

It means that there will be around 550 extra jury trials this year and 650 extra decisions to charge.

There was a spike in the reporting of sexual offences in 2013/14 in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and other arrests made under Operation Yewtree.

A total of 24,043 rapes and 48,934 other sexual offences were recorded by police in the year to September 2014, according to Office for National Statistics figures.