PPS publishes latest statistical bulletin on cases involving sexual offences

Date published: 23 November 2023


The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) today published its Statistical Bulletin: Cases Involving Sexual Offences 2022/23 which presents key statistics 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.

The Bulletin presents key statistics for the 2022/23 financial year (i.e., 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023) and includes comparisons with the 2021/22 financial year. It provides a statistical overview of all sexual offences, including an analysis of cases involving rape.

Key findings


During the 2022/23 financial year:

  • The PPS received a total of 1,858 files involving a sexual offence. This was an increase of 23.1% on 2021/22 (1,509). There was an increase of 14.0% in the number of files received involving an offence of rape, from 600 to 684.


  • Files received included a total of 1,936 suspects, 705 of whom were charged or reported for rape (an increase of 13.3% on 2021/22) and 1,231 were in respect of other sexual offences (an increase of 29.4%).


  • 1,981 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 27.3% of decisions, which included 540 decisions for prosecution or diversion from the courts. At 27.3%, the percentage of decisions meeting the Test represents a decrease from 2021/22 (35.5%).


  • Of the 1,441 no prosecution decisions issued during 2022/23, 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 272 calendar days (274 days in 2021/22). Median days for summary prosecution decisions (prosecution in the Magistrates’ or Youth Courts) was 36 days (28 in 2021/22).


  • A total of 283 defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court in cases involving sexual offences. The overall conviction rate was 69.3% compared with 72.7% in 2021/22.


  • Ninety-seven defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court for an offence of rape and sixty-three (64.9%) of these were convicted of at least one offence (i.e., any offence). Twenty-seven defendants (27.8%) were convicted of an offence of rape.


  • A total of 208 defendants were dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts for a sexual offence during 2022/23. The overall conviction rate was 73.6% compared with 73.2% in 2021/22.

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 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: Thematic-bulletins-sexual-offences.

Any member of the public may comment on the report by contacting PPS as follows:

Statistics and Research
Policy and Information Unit
Public Prosecution Service
Belfast Chambers
93 Chichester Street
Belfast BT1 3JR

Tel: 02890 897100

Deaf / hard of hearing (SMS):             07795 675528

Email: info@ppsni.gov.uk

Website: www.ppsni.gov.uk

Media Enquiries please contact PPS Communications at: PPSPressOffice@ppsni.gov.uk

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