CJI publishes follow up review of sexual violence and abuse

A new report by CJI has identified improvements in how sexual violence and abuse is addressed by the criminal justice system. View report page.

Speaking following the report's publication, CJI Chief Inspector Brendan McGuigan said: "The report has identified improvements in the working relationship between the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).  Inspectors also found seven of the 12 original inspection recommendations made in 2010 were assessed as achieved; three were found to be partially achieved; and two were not achieved.
"Positive steps such as the recent opening of a new Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Northern Ireland, the establishment of a pilot Victim and Witness Care Unit and the recognition of sexual violence and abuse within the Northern Ireland Executive 2011-15 Programme for Government, we hope will result in an improved service, reduce avoidable delay and help lessen attrition rates.
"Communication between specialist prosecutors and police officers working in rape crime and child abuse investigation units has also increased and further work to investigate why the majority of rape cases are directed for no prosecution has also been conducted."
Mr McGuigan said that issues arising from the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence and abuse will need to continue to be a priority for the criminal justice agencies and in particular the PSNI and PPS.
"There needs to be continued focus on the reasons why cases drop out of the criminal justice process at all stages in order to increased the number of cases which ultimately result in a conviction in the court.
"The impact of the work undertaken to date can only really be assessed through a further full inspection therefore this topic will remain a priority for CJI and the Inspectorate will return to this subject in due course," concluded the Chief Inspector.