Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

NI conviction rates for rape and sexual offences drop

The overall conviction rate at the Crown Court in sexual offence cases has dropped 10% in one year.

The conviction rate for sexual offences in Northern Ireland has dropped in the last year.

The latest statistics released by the Public Prosecution Service show that 224 defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court in cases involving alleged sexual offences.

The overall conviction rate at the Crown Court in these cases has dropped 10% in one year.

10%
The percentage drop in convictions of alleged sexual offences

The statistics show 73.8% were convicted in 2016/17 compared to 63.8% in 2017/18.

Alleged rape

Sixty defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court for an alleged offence of rape in 2017/18.

Of these, 45% were convicted of at least one offence (ie, any offence), while 15% were convicted of an offence of rape.

15%
Convicted of rape in 2017/18

Report numbers up

Meanwhile the PPS saw an increase in the number of reports of allegations of sexual offences during 2017/18 compared with the previous year.

The PPS received 1,587 files in 2017/18 involving an alleged sexual offence.

This was an increase of 21% on 2016/17 (1,312).

There was also a rise of 34.2% in the number of files received involving an alleged rape offence, from 395 to 530.

Challenges in prosecuting

PPS assistant director Marianne O'Kane said there were significant challenges in prosecuting these types of cases.

She also cautioned that two years of data is not a long enough period to demonstrate a trend.

It is universally recognised there are significant challenges in prosecuting these types of cases.

– Marianne O'Kane, PPS

Ms O'Kane added: "Over the last three years the PPS has established a dedicated team of senior public prosecutors who have worked closely with our partners to ensure consistency in best practice procedures to build cases, support victims and ensure that prosecutions are brought robustly, but fairly.

"Against this backdrop we are seeing a significant increase in both the complexity and the volume of cases."

Ms O'Kane said that publishing statistics shows the PPS' aim to be as open and transparent as possible.