PPS publishes annual statistics on sexual offences

Date published: 05 November 2020


The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has published its annual statistical bulletin: 'Cases Involving Sexual Offences 2019/20'

The Bulletin presents key statistics for the 2019/20 financial year (01 April 2019 to 31 March 2020), in relation to the prosecution of sexual offences, including caseloads and prosecutorial decisions. It also includes statistics on the outcomes of prosecutions at court involving these offences and includes comparisons with the 2018/19 financial year.

This is the fourth Bulletin in this series which provides a statistical overview of all sexual offences, including an analysis of cases involving rape.

Key findings

During the 2019/20 financial year:

  • The PPS received a total of 1,684 files involving a sexual offence. This was an increase of 5.6% on 2018/19 (1,594). There was a rise of 6.9% in the number of files received involving a rape offence, from 610 to 652.
  • Files received included a total of 1,801 suspects, 706 of whom were charged or reported for rape (an increase of 10.8% on 2018/19) and 1,095 for other sexual offences (an increase of 4.5%).
  • 1,755 prosecutorial decisions were issued by the PPS in respect of suspects in cases involving sexual offences. The Test for Prosecution was met in respect of 28.7% of decisions, which included 503 decisions for prosecution or diversion from the courts. At 28.7%, the percentage of decisions meeting the Test represents a small increase on 2018/19 (27.4%).
  • Of the 1,252 decisions for no prosecution, the vast majority (99.4%) did not pass the evidential test. The remaining 0.6% did not pass the public interest test.
  • Median days for the issue of indictable prosecution decisions (prosecution in the Crown Court) in cases involving sexual offences was 255 calendar days (256 days in 2018/19). Median days for summary prosecution decisions (prosecution in the Magistrates’ or Youth Courts) was 20 days (45 in 2018/19).
  • A total of 217 defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court in cases involving sexual offences. The overall conviction rate was 69.1% compared with 64.3% in 2018/19.
  • Sixty-seven defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court for an offence of rape and 36 (53.7%) of these were convicted of at least one offence (i.e. any offence). Twenty (29.9%) defendants were convicted of an offence of rape.
  • A total of 153 defendants were dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts for a sexual offence during 2019/20. The overall conviction rate was 72.5% compared with 71.3% in 2018/19.

The full bulletin may be viewed or downloaded at Thematic bulletins sexual offences.


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