06/11/2020

Sexual Crime Victims Continually Let Down- Green Party NI

Latest official figures on sexual offences in Northern Ireland show victims are being continually let down, the Green Party has claimed.

Calls for improved outcomes for victims have emerged after the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) revealed that the conviction rate for the offence of rape stands at 29.9%.

Just 40% of all sexual offence suspects were recommended for prosecution in 2019, while the conviction rate for those that did proceed to trial was at 64.1%.

Green Party MLA Rachel Woods said the figures are evidence that Northern Ireland's criminal justice system is failing victims, particularly those who report rape.

The Justice Committee member said: "The 40% prosecution rate for suspects of rape is particularly galling. It means that six out of every ten people who summon the courage to report a rape will never see a suspect charged with the crime visited upon them.

"It represents a wider threat to our society and we know that the prevalence of sexual crime is greater still, with many crimes going unreported and offenders facing no intervention whatsoever."

While the PPS and other criminal justice partners have made recent efforts to improve outcomes for victims, the pace of change is too slow for victims of sexual offences and society as a whole, according to the Green Party MLA.

"It's clear that the Gillen Review Recommendations must be implemented as an urgent priority. To date, only 11% of Gillen Review recommendation have been implemented. The Justice Minister must work to expediate all of the Gillen Recommendations as a departmental priority.

"Otherwise, victims of sexual offences will continue to be retraumatised and let down by the very system tasked with delivering justice on their behalf and protecting society as a whole."



(JG)

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