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Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of how the effectiveness of written warnings to young offenders in combating rape; in what circumstances young offenders who have committed (a) rape and (b) sexual assault may be issued with written warnings; and what assessment has been made of the views of victims of those crimes of the use of written warnings. (112738)

The decision to give a warning for a rape or sexual offence is dependent on the facts of each case and, since three April 2006, will be made by a specialist rape prosecutor and referred to a second specialist prosecutor for a second opinion before a warning is delivered. The prosecutor will have access to the full facts of the case, something that is rarely in the public domain.

In general warnings are not appropriate for a rape or other serious sexual offence. But the police and CPS must have the flexibility to act in the best interests of the victim in exceptional situations. When deciding whether to issue a warning the views of the victim will be taken into account.