Released On 16th May 2018
Reporting Sexual Abuse to the Police
In the year ending March 2017 there were well over 100 child sex offences reported to the police each and every day. In fact official statistics record some 43,284 formal complaints to the police across England and Wales for the year.
However, only one in seven, or 6,519, resulted in the perpetrator going to court.
The police admit that in almost 23,000 complaints, or over 50% of cases, there were evidential difficulties that prevented further action being taken. In 6,152 cases a suspect could not be identified and the investigation could not be completed. In 392 incidents the offender died before proceeding could be initiated, and in a small number of case (1,314 of crimes) the police could not prosecute, because the suspect was himself underage.
Official figures also reveal there were 631 cases that ended in a caution.
The figures are perhaps depressing. So why is it so important to report sexual offences, particularly those that took place a long time ago? There are many reasons.
1. A crime is a crime whenever it was committed and does not become any less of a crime with the passage of time. By the same token, a victim is entitled to justice whenever that may come along and justice delayed is better than justice denied.
2. As the NSPCC recognise children who have been sexually abused have already suffered extraordinary trauma. Justice and seeing a perpetrator brought before the Courts can be a crucial part of rebuilding lives. For some it brings a sense of closure.
3. Sex abusers are often opportunist and will usually target anyone who they believe can be abused with impunity. If you have been abused your report to the police may stop the next potential victim becoming abused.
4. If you have been abused you may be entitled to claim compensation and there may be several options open to you. Claims can be made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority whose function is to compensate blameless victims of violent crime; to the organisation where the perpetrator worked if the abuse took place in the context of their employment; or against the perpetrator him or herself. The CICA will not entertain a claim unless the abuse has been reported, although it is not necessary to obtain a conviction. It is much easier for a victim to bring a successful claim if a conviction has been secured against the perpetrator. Thus reporting to the police is an important step. The police appreciate that this may bring back painful memories, but they may put in place support for you to help with this difficult process.
At robsonshaw, our solicitors have been helping victims of sexual abuse for the past 18 years and have a wealth of experience in conducting sexual abuse compensation claims. To speak to us on a confidential, no obligation basis, contact us at any time. We operate a 24/7 legal practice. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange to call you at your convenience.