NI Sexual Offence Conviction Rates Drop

The latest statistics from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) have revealed a drop in conviction rates for sexual offences, including rape, despite an increase in reports of crimes of this nature.

The figures revealed that 224 defendants were dealt with at the Crown Court in the 2017/18 period in cases involving sexual offences, with 60 defendants accused of rape.

The overall conviction rate dropped 10% compared to the previous year.

Of those being dealt with for rape allegations, 45% were convicted of at least one offence, while 15% were convicted of rape.

Despite the drop in convictions, the PPS saw an increase of 21% in the number of reports of allegations of sexual offences.
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There was also a rise in the number of reports involving rape allegations, from 395 the previous year to 530.

PPS assistant director Marianne O'Kane said there were "significant challenges" in prosecuting these types of cases, but did caution that two years of data is not a long enough period to suggest a trend in figures.

"It is universally recognised there are significant challenges in prosecuting these types of cases," Mrs O'Kane said.

"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."


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