The Crown Prosecution Service has published revised legal guidance for prosecutors tackling what it says are 40 myths and stereotypes about rape as it tries to address the disparity between the number of cases reported and going to court.
The CPS said it worked with victim support groups to update the guidance and sought expert views on what might have contributed to lower conviction rates involving people aged 18-24.
The myths include: the victim previously consented to sex with the accused so he or she must have consented; the victim automatically provided consent by the way they were dressed or their flirtatious behaviour; if the victim met the accused through a ‘hook-up’ app they wanted sex and should be ready to offer sex; if the victim did not complain to the police immediately then it was not rape; and if the victim sent sexual images prior to a meeting, having sex is inevitable.
Siobhan Blake, CPS rape lead, said: ‘There have been massive changes to the way people live their lives in the last 10 years and this has undoubtedly transformed the way people interact, date and communicate with sexual partners.
‘Rape remains one of the most complex criminal offences and that is why this updated legal guidance addresses  common myths and stereotypes.
‘As dramatic technological advances have changed the way people meet and connect, it’s vital those in the criminal justice system understand the wider, social, context of these changes.’
Blake added: ‘We share the public’s concern about the disparity between the number of rape and serious sexual offences reported and those cases getting to court, and are determined to make significant changes to improve that for survivors of these appalling crimes.
The CPs is seeking views from the public on the revised guidance, which will apply on an interim basis from 1 November. The consultation closes on 18 January.