Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland prosecutors report rise in rape complaints

395 complaints of rape were made in 2016/17

By Allan Preston

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for Northern Ireland has reported an increase in rape complaints.

Files involving a sexual offence rose by 5% in 2016/17, with a notable 18% rise in rape complaints, 395 up from 335. 

The PPS made 1,087 decisions for sexual offence cases, with over a third (36%) meeting the test for prosecution.

This meant 363 decisions for prosecution were taken with 36 cases diverted from the courts.

A total of 267 defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court, with three quarters (74%) convicted for sexual offences.

64 were dealt with for an offence of rape, with just under a quarter convicted and over half (57%) convicted of at least one offence.

In the Magistrates' and Youth Courts, 148 defendants were dealt with, up from 133 the previous year.

Dr Richard Scullion is the PPS' Head of Policy and Information.

“Sexual offences are among the most serious criminal acts that can be perpetrated and the PPS is fully committed to robustly prosecuting these types of cases where the Test for Prosecution is met," he said.

“In developing this Statistical Bulletin, we want to contribute to a greater understanding of the prosecution of such cases and of the end-to-end criminal justice processes."

The PPS also took 688 decisions not to prosecute, with the vast majority (96.5%) not passing the evidential test, while the remaining 3.5% did not pass the public interest test.

The figures were verified by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, with the PPS aiming to publish a further bulletin for 2017/18 in the Autumn.

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