Sexual violence inspection finds justice system 'struggling'

A report on how sexual violence and abuse cases are handled by the criminal justice system has highlighted issues around the timely progression of cases and outcomes for victims.

Chief Inspector Brendan McGuigan highlighted his concerns around delay and the conviction rate for cases of rape and other sexual offences as he published the Inspection report.
"There are many dedicated people within the police and prosecution services working to secure a criminal justice outcome for victims who come forward but delay is a significant problem,” said chief Inspector Brendan McGuigan.
"Delay in progressing cases from the outset mean victims are living with the trauma of what happened to them without resolution in most cases for years.
“Attrition rates are high and more must be done to understand why victims are choosing to withdraw their support for a criminal justice sanction.
“We have made nine recommendations to improve how sexual violence and abuse cases are handled, but further work is required around the principle of consent and what healthy relationships look like.
“This is not an issue the criminal justice system can solve on its own,” he concluded.