THE conviction rate for rape and attempted rape has fallen.

Out of 212 cases taken to court, just 87 resulted in a conviction, prompting calls for more to be done to address the imbalance. The rate which was 56 per cent is now 41 per cent.

Sandy Brindley, national co-ordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, claimed the focus should be on addressing the public, and jurors. attitudes to rape.

She said: "It's encouraging that the number of prosecutions is up, because in the past so many cases just never got past the fiscal.

"That part of the picture is welcome, that the Crown is chasing more cases, but we have quite a way to go when it comes to conviction rate.

"Also, the fact that 20 per cent of cases are found not proven, higher than any other crime, is something quite concerning. Too often juries can be reluctant to convict and it almost looks as if this offers people a way out.

"But I think the biggest issue is that we need to look at why juries are so reluctant to convict. We need to think about people's attitudes and try to do more to address that.

"We really need to look more in terms of society, rather than focusing on what the Crown is doing."

Scottish Labour's Justice Spokesperson, Hugh Henry MSP, urged the Government to do everything in its power to improve justice for victims of sexual offences.

He said: "These shocking statistics are a reminder that urgent action is needed to give justice to the victims of rape and sexual offences"

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We know that these types of cases can be harder to prove as they are often committed in private.

"The Scottish Government has strengthened the law around sex crimes by bringing in the Sexual Offences Act which widened the legal definition of rape.

"The Crown Office now have a specialist prosecution team in place to give cases the best chance of securing a conviction, Police Scotland has set up a new National Rape Task Force, and since 2007 funding for initiatives to tackle all forms of violence against women has increased by more than 60 per cent.

"However, we are not complacent and we understand more needs to be done to tackle this appalling crime."