Country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Year 2009 - 2010
Type of Measure Monitoring and Evaluation > Policies, Monitoring and Evaluation > Services
Form of Violence Sexual violence

Brief Description


The Stern Review is an independent review which was conducted from November 2009 to March 2010 by Baroness Vivien Stern regarding the treatment of rape complaints by public authorities in England and Wales.  Baroness Stern was invited to carry out this study by the Government Equalities Office and the Home Office.

The Stern Review terms of reference are:

  • to examine the response of the public authorities to rape complaints and examine how more victims can be encouraged to report;
  • to explore ways in which the attrition rate in criminal cases can be reduced, and how to fairly increase the conviction rate;
  • to identify how to increase victim and witness satisfaction, and confidence in the criminal justice system in addressing rape;
  • to explore public and professional attitudes to rape and how they impact on outcomes;
  • to utilise findings and information available from other relevant work, particularly the work on victims' experience being led by Sara Payne and the Department of Health Taskforce led by Professor Sir George Alberti, avoiding unnecessary duplication; and
  • to make recommendations, with particular reference to improving the implementation of current policies and procedures.

The 23 recommendations made by the Stern review can be found from pp. 119 to 124.

The Government gave its response to the Stern Review in March 2011.  The Government made a precision that while the Stern Review focused on rape, many of the conclusions and recommendations have equal value in relation to other forms of sexual violence.   The Government therefore often refers to rape and sexual violence throughout its response to indicate its intention that these improvements should apply not only to rape but to all forms of sexual violence. 

The Government structured its response into four key themes:

  • understanding sexual violence;
  • supporting victims; 
  • an effective criminal justice response; and
  • accountability and governance.

 The Government's recommendations are contained in a table in pp. 24 to 31.

Full Text

Stern Review (Treatment of Rape Complaints)

Source of Information

Website of the Home Office