An Overview of Sexual Offending in England & Wales
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Relationship with perpetrator
This statistical product does not collect information on Perpetrator
Victim experience; the police role in recording and detecting the crimes; how the various criminal justice agencies deal with an offender once identified; and the criminal histories of sex offenders.
Criminal statistics on sexual violence
Criminal statistical data included
Overview of sexual offending in England and Wales. Includes: the victim experience; the police role in recording and detecting the crimes; how the various criminal justice agencies deal with an offender once identified; and the criminal histories of sex offenders.
It is presented either in terms of calendar years, financial years or other relevant time periods, reflecting the reporting cycles and data collection of the Departments contributing information for this publication.
Frequency of updating
This is the first time such report is released. Still unknown if this will be a annually bulletin.
No information available
Court data: Statistics on the duration of criminal cases completed in the criminal courts are sourced from linking together extracts taken from the Crown Court case management system (CREST) and the magistrates’ court case management system (Libra MIS). The datasets are produced by firstly collecting all Crown Court cases disposed of in the specified quarter and looking for a match for the defendant with the same offence in the magistrates’ court data. Records are linked based on a combination of variables including given name, middle name, family name, date of birth, sex, postcode, a committal date, and two identifiers: the Arrest/Summons Number (ASN) and Pre-Trials Issue Unique Reference Number (PTIURN). Where the case is fully disposed in the magistrates’ courts during the specified time period, the timeliness data for such cases is collected from the Libra MIS extract and added to the dataset. Prison (offender management): Prison establishments record details for individual inmates on the prison IT system (either Prison-NOMIS or LIDS). The information recorded includes details such as date of birth, sex, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, custody type, offence, reception and discharge dates and, for sentenced prisoners, sentence length. The data from individual prison establishments then feeds through to a central computer database, called the Inmate Information System (IIS), from which data extracts are used to produce the various analyses of prison population, receptions, discharges and time served in custody.
Quality assurance process
Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, these data have been extracted from survey and large administrative data systems generated by the courts, police forces and other agencies. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure the limitations of these data are taken into account. The data presented is largely from published government statistical releases and reports, but on occasion has been supplied by criminal justice agency colleagues. Quality specified per source: Court data: A range of quality assurance measures have been carried out on the data. These include ensuring the data are complete, case events follow a logical date sequence with recorded offence information, and all breach cases are excluded. Times are analysed for anomalies or error, including the removal of cases with recorded durations of over ten years to ensure the average times reported are not distorted by incorrect data. Data cleaning is also carried out prior to matching the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court datasets to ensure that minor differences between the recording of similar entries on the two systems do not materially affect the ability to match records. The CREST system and Libra MIS reports provide good quality data and a high rate of data linking, with typically around 95 per cent of Crown Court records on CREST being successfully linked to a defendant recorded at a magistrates’ court case on the Libra MIS extract.
No information. The complexities of the criminal justice system and the constraints on resources in collating and processing data limit the amount of information collected routinely, so only the final outcome of proceedings at magistrates' courts and the Crown Court (where applicable) is recorded.
Limitations. When interpreting the flows of offences and offenders through the CJS, it is important to note the various stages of attrition and the inherent challenges associated with detection and prosecution of crime, in particular with sexual offences. Second, the issue of ‘downgrading’ of offences (when a decision is made by the Crown Prosecution Service, between the initial hearing at the magistrates’ court and the first hearing at the Crown Court, that the initial charge is incorrect and should be changed to another offence) as they move through the system presents analytical challenges and requires careful consideration when interpreting the statistics. For example, one method of calculating rape conviction rates often used by commentators shows the number of people convicted of rape as a proportion of all rape crimes recorded. Given the different currencies of the two number and the effect of downgrading of offences through the CJS mentioned above, this method is incorrect and misleading in terms of presenting evidence on convictions for rape
No information available
- Over time
Providing such an overview presents a number of challenges, not least that the available information comes from different sources that do not necessarily cover the same period, the same people (victims or offenders) or the same offences. For example, the results from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) are based on self completed questions from a representative sample of adults (aged 16 to 59), asking about an individual’s experiences of sexual offences in the last 12 months. The police recorded and court information cover all sexual offences, as legislated for in law, committed against any individual irrespective of age or when the crime took place, but exclude the large volume of crimes not reported to the police.. Other issues that prevent direct comparisons include: the CSEW focusing on the most recent experience of adults as a victim of sexual offence in the previous 12 months (thus, for example, does not include sexual offences experienced by children or those aged 60 or over); police recorded crime figures being based on offences per victim (i.e. for each victim in a given incident, a crime is recorded) in the year the crime was reported, irrespective of when the offence took place; the criminal justice outcome information (e.g. cautions and convictions) being on an offender basis at the date of the final outcome, again irrespective of when the crime took place. The latter two points mean that figures between the police and court sources will differ, as there will be crimes involving more than one victim or more than one offender, or possibly multiple victims and offenders relating to a single crime. It is not currently feasible to track individual cases from initial recording by the police through the CJS.
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No information available