Department of Family and Community Services

3.3 Sexual offences proven in court

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The progress of sexual offence cases through the criminal justice system

Current position

Child victims

In NSW in 2011, there were 5,573 sexual offence incidents involving child victims recorded by NSW Police. Offenders were convicted in 361 of these cases, which means that less than 7 percent of recorded incidents were proven in court.

Adult victims

For adult victims in 2011, there were 4,044 sexual offence incidents recorded by NSW Police. Offenders were convicted in 369, or 9 percent, of these cases.

The direction of
change over time

Figure 6.8 shows that, since 2008, the percentage of sexual offence incidents involving a child victim that were proven in court slightly declined for the third year in a row.

For cases involving an adult victim, the percentage proven in court has, since 2009, also slightly declined for the second year in a row.

Discussion

The major points of attrition for reported sexual offences are in the early stages of the criminal justice process. Data for 2010 shows that more than 80 percent of sexual offences (adult and child victims) recorded by police in that year did not result in the initiation of criminal proceedings. Note, however, that one offender may be charged for multiple incidents.

In NSW in the 12 months to September 2012, 97 percent of people proceeded against by police for sexual offences were male1. Of people found guilty of sexual assault, 98 percent were male.2

 

The term attrition refers to the reduction in sexual offence case numbers as matters progress through the criminal justice system. Children are defined as 0 to 15 years of age.

Year collected: 2008 to 2011.
Data source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, The Progress of Sexual Offences through the NSW Criminal Justice System 2006-10. BOCSAR unpublished data (BOCSAR ref: jh13-11027) for 2011 data. BOCSAR (2006) Crime and Justice Bulletin (no.92) The attrition of sexual offences from the NSW criminal justice system for 2006 information on attrition in the early stages of the criminal justice process. More information is available at www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au

Figure 6.8 Guilty findings for sexual offences recorded by Police, NSW, 2008-11

Fig 6.8

Population: Sexual offence incidents recorded by NSW Police, 2008 to 2011.
Source: BOCSAR (2012) The Progress of Sexual Offences through the NSW Criminal Justice System 2006-10 and unpublished data (BOCSAR ref: jh13-11027).