PPS publishes new statistical bulletin

Date published: 24 October 2019


The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) today published its Statistical Bulletin: Cases Involving Sexual Offences 2018/19 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 2018/19 financial year (i.e. 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019) and includes comparisons with the equivalent period of 2017/18. Revised statistics for the financial years 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 are also published by the PPS today.

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

Key findings

During the 2018/19 financial year:

  • The PPS received a total of 1,594 files involving a sexual offence. This was an increase of 7.6% on 2017/18 (1,482). There was a rise of 9.7% in the number of files received involving a rape offence, from 556 to 610.
  • Files received included a total of 1,685 suspects, 637 of whom were charged or reported for rape (an increase of 7.2% on 2017/18) and 1,048 for other sexual offences (an increase of 6.3%).
  • 1,721 prosecutorial decisions were issued by the PPS in respect of suspects in cases involving sexual offences. The evidential Test for Prosecution was met in respect of 27.4% of decisions, which included 472 decisions for prosecution or diversion from the courts. At 27.4%, the percentage of decisions meeting the Test represents an increase on 2017/18 (25.1%).
  • Of the 1,249 decisions for no prosecution, the vast majority (98.0%) did not pass the evidential test. The remaining 2.0% 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 256 calendar days (204 days in 2017/18). Median days for summary prosecution decisions (prosecution in the Magistrates’ or Youth Courts) was 45 days (39 in 2017/18).
  • A total of 157 defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court in cases involving sexual offences. The overall conviction rate was 64.3% compared with 58.2% in 2017/18.
  • Forty-eight defendants were dealt with in the Crown Court for an offence of rape and 27 of these were convicted of at least one offence (i.e. any offence). Ten defendants were convicted of an offence of rape.
  • A total of 167 defendants were dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts for a sexual offence during 2018/19. The overall conviction rate was 71.3% compared with 67.4% in 2017/18.

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

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