To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many recorded rape offences in Northern Ireland, including attempted rape, led to convictions in each of the last 10 years, broken down by (a) age and (b) gender of the victims.
The information is not available in the requested format. At present Northern Ireland court proceedings and sentencing data sources do not include victim information in relation to the commission of an offence.
Table 1 shows the number of recorded rape offences (including attempted rape) from 1998-99 by age group and gender of victim while table 2 outlines the number of prosecutions and convictions for rape offences (including attempted rape) for the calendar years 1996 to 2005 (the latest available years). Court data are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.
Recorded crime data cannot be routinely reconciled with prosecution and conviction data as the former relate to the number of offences whereas the latter relate to the number of offenders brought before the courts. In addition, recorded crime data denote each offence as it has been initially recorded and this may differ from the offence for which a suspect or suspects are subsequently proceeded against in the courts.
Government are committed to improving the rates of successful prosecution in rape cases. Specialist police units, staffed by highly skilled and trained personnel, are dedicated to enhancing the service to victims of rape and sexual assault and both PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service are seeking to develop models of best investigative practice so that more offences can achieve the threshold for prosecution.
The Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Health and Social and Personal Services have also jointly developed, and consulted on, a Draft Regional Strategy for addressing Sexual Violence in Northern Ireland which will address these issues through a robust action plan delivering on strategic objectives in three key areas—crime prevention, better victim support and improved protection and justice measures. The Strategy is to be published this spring.
|Table 1: Recorded rape or attempted rape offences by age and gender of victim 1997-98 to 2006-07|
|Age under 18||Age 18-64||Age 65+||Age unknown||All ages|
|2003 - 04( 1)|
|(1) Prior to a change in legislation which took place during 2003/04, males could not be classed as victims of rape. |
Central Statistics Unit, PSN1
|Table 2: Number of prosecutions and convictions for rape or attempted rape 1996-2005|