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Child Sexual Abuse (Northern Ireland)

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

To ask the Solicitor-General what criteria are used by the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland in deciding whether to prosecute those found guilty of sexual abuse against children; and how many such prosecutions there have been in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. (76402)

All prosecution decisions are reached in accordance with the provisions of the Code for Prosecutors in that there must be sufficient evidence to afford a reasonable prospect of a conviction and prosecution must be in the public interest. The Public Prosecution Service takes all allegations of sexual abuse very seriously and an indication of the factors that are required to be considered in reaching decisions are set out in the Code.

The following table sets out the figures requested for prosecutions in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years.

Crown court

Magistrates court

2001-02

14

2

2002-03

32

7

2003-04

43

9

2004-05

75

7

2005-06

69

7

Total

233

32