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Sexual Offences

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many sexual assaults were recorded in each police district command unit area in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; and what training and support was provided to police officers in Northern Ireland in dealing with such cases. (125039)

'Sexual assault' is not a specific offence and therefore data under this heading is not recorded by PSNI. The following table details statistics relating to the number of all Recorded Sexual Offences by District Command Unit during the last five years.

Sexual Offences1 recorded by District Command Unit for 2002 to 2006

District Command Unit

2002

2003

2004

2005

20062

East Belfast

54

55

106

95

74

North Belfast

69

112

151

94

106

South Belfast

112

149

165

138

157

West Belfast

58

45

75

48

59

Castlereagh

34

38

32

45

36

North Down

55

56

48

74

68

Ards

59

98

55

73

52

Carrickfergus

18

17

30

21

29

Lisburn

94

119

125

113

124

Newtownabbey

33

43

110

68

79

Antrim

31

32

32

39

66

Larne

32

33

34

21

28

Down

42

62

48

60

48

Armagh

16

30

29

43

40

Banbridge

31

40

40

29

31

Newry and Mourne

44

80

56

56

66

Cookstown

27

30

20

22

22

Dungannon and South Tyrone

34

33

39

31

41

Fermanagh

33

42

43

34

57

Omagh

47

47

41

52

58

Foyle

169

165

154

159

195

Limavady

33

34

31

38

38

Magherafelt

17

22

28

32

43

Strabane

32

37

41

36

41

Ballymena

54

75

61

75

68

Ballymoney

26

20

7

20

21

Coleraine

52

103

74

86

79

Moyle

11

12

15

19

16

Craigavon

62

77

57

78

82

Total

1,379

1,706

1,747

1,699

1,824

1 Sexual offence statistics comprise the following offences—rape, attempted rape, unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under 14 years, unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl over 14 years but under 17 years, indecent assaults (on female, female child, male and male child), indecency between males, indecent exposure, indecent conduct towards a child and other sexual offences. 2 Please note that figures for 2006 are provisional and are liable to revision. Source: Central Statistics Unit, PSNI

PSNI provide a range of training and support to police officers dealing with such cases.

In foundation programmes the following areas are covered in relation to sexual offences:

How to identify the different offences of indecent assaults and rape.

Initial actions to be taken in relation to securing evidence at the scene of an indecent assault /rape and from the victim.

Procedure to be carried out during the initial investigation involving the use of the Child Abuse and Rape Enquiry (CARE) suite.

The students also receive a presentation on rape trauma highlighting the trauma that victims of rape and sexual offences may suffer and how to identify it. Opportunities are also provided to learn about the work of key voluntary organisations such as Nexus and Samaritans.

Crime training provides training for specialist officers in relation to interviewing and dealing with victims of sexual assault. Part of this training is provided jointly by police and social services.

The PSNI will shortly be delivering a nationally accredited course in the investigation of sexual crime to its specialist officers from the CARE Units. This course will commence in April 2007.

Work is also underway to establish the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Northern Ireland.