PPS publishes latest statistical bulletin on cases involving sexual offences

Date published: 01 December 2022


The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) today published its Statistical Bulletin: Cases Involving Sexual Offences 2021/22 which presents key statistics in relation to the prosecution of sexual offences, including caseloads and prosecutorial decisions.

The Bulletin presents key statistics for the 2021/22 financial year (i.e., 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022) and includes comparisons with the 2020/21 financial year.

During the 2021/22 financial year:


  • The PPS received a total of 1,509 files involving a sexual offence. This was a decrease of 3.8% on 2020/21 (1,568). There was an increase of 3.8% in the number of files received involving an offence of rape, from 578 to 600.


  • Files received included a total of 1,573 suspects, 622 of whom were charged or reported for rape (an increase of 2.3% on 2020/21) and 951 were in respect of other sexual offences (a decrease of 9.9%).


  • 1,540 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 35.5% of decisions, which included 546 decisions for prosecution or diversion from the courts. At 35.5%, the percentage of decisions meeting the Test represents an increase from 2020/21 (27.8%).


  • Of the 994 no prosecution decisions issued during 2021/22, the vast majority (98.3%) did not pass the evidential test. The remaining 1.7% 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 274 calendar days (293 days in 2021/22). Median days for summary prosecution decisions (prosecution in the Magistrates’ or Youth Courts) was 28 days (16 in 2020/21).


  • A total of 256 defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court in cases involving sexual offences. The overall conviction rate was 72.7% compared with 71.3% in 2020/21.


  • Seventy-two defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court for an offence of rape and forty-seven (65.3%) of these were convicted of at least one offence (i.e., any offence). Twenty-one defendants (29.2%) were convicted of an offence of rape.


  • A total of 190 defendants were dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts for a sexual offence during 2021/22. The overall conviction rate was 73.2% compared with 68.0% in 2020/21.

Further information

This summary should be read in conjunction with the explanatory notes (see Tables) and user information provided (see pages 14 - 16 of the Statistical Bulletin). Please also refer to the supporting document to this release Sexual Offences Classification (Offence Description and Legislation) available on the PPS website at https://www.ppsni.gov.uk/thematic-bulletins-sexual-offences.

These are ‘Official Statistics’ as defined in Section 6 of the Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007. Statisticians from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency are on loan to the PPS and are responsible for ensuring that the statistics produced comply with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

The information presented in this bulletin is derived from the Case Management System, the main operational system within the PPS. This is a ‘live’ system with data being input on a daily basis.

The full bulletin may be viewed or downloaded here: https://www.ppsni.gov.uk/thematic-bulletins-sexual-offences.


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