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Offences against Children

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders aged 21 years or over received a caution for sexual activity with a child under 13 years in each year since 2004. (258332)

Information on the number of offenders aged 21 and over cautioned for sexual activity with a child under 13 in England and Wales in each year from 2004 to 2007 (latest available) is shown in the following table.

For such indictable only offences, the decision to prosecute is taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), based on the seriousness of the offence, the evidence before them and the public interest. In the majority of cases a caution would not be appropriate for this type of offence. However in exceptional circumstances the police and CPS may decide that it is in the best interests of the victim not to prosecute. Issuing a caution in such circumstances for an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 ensures that the offender will be placed on the sex offenders register. The caution forms part of their criminal record. The caution may also be cited in court in any subsequent proceedings and can be made known to a prospective employer.

Number of offenders aged 21 years and over cautioned for offences relating to sexual activity with a child aged under 131, England and Wales, 2004 to 20072,3

Aged 21 and over









1 Includes the following statutes under the Sexual Offences Act 2003; Sections 5, 6, 7, 8 (1) (2) and (3), 9 (1)(a)(b)(c)(ii) and (2) and (3), 10 (1)(a)(b)(c)(ii) and (3), 11 (1)(a)(b)(c)(d)(ii) and (2), 12 (1)(a)(b)(c)(ii) and 2, 25 (1)(e)(ii) and (2)-(4)(a)(b), 49 (l)(a)(b)(ii) and (2).

2 The cautions statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been cautioned for two or more offences at the same time the principal offence is the more serious offence.

3 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.


Evidence and Analysis Unit—Office for Criminal Justice Reform.