Skip to main content

Children: Abuse

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people aged 21 years and over with a previous conviction have been (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for offences relating to child abuse in each year since 1997. (276187)

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Number of offenders aged 21 and over convicted for offences relating to child abuse England and Wales, and the number with previous convictions, 2000 to 20071,2,3

Number of convictions

Of which:

Convictions for offences relating to child abuse1,2,3

Number of convictions where the offender had one or more previous convictions for offences of any kind

2000

617

362

2001

554

306

2002

616

340

2003

701

383

2004

808

437

2005

1,012

536

2006

1,143

628

2007

1,175

639

1 Figures are counts of primary offences only.

2 An offender convicted on several occasions will appear in the table more than once.

3 Includes cruelty or neglect of a child; abandoning a child under two years; rape or sexual assault of a child or sexual activity involving a child, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (which came into effect on 1 May 2004); causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable person (introduced on 21 March 2005).

These figures have been drawn from the police’s administrative IT system, the police national computer (PNC), which, as with any large scale recording system, is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the police. PNC data has been used here rather than court proceedings data, which is the usual source of published conviction statistics, as the PNC provides information on the criminal history of offenders. Figures before 2000 have not been provided as the extract of PNC data held by the Ministry of Justice is incomplete before that date.

Equivalent figures for offenders who have been prosecuted are not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of those aged 21 years or over convicted of offences relating to child abuse received (a) immediate custody, (b) a suspended sentence, (c) a community sentence, (d) a fine, (e) a conditional or absolute discharge and (f) other treatment in each year since 1997. (276231)

The requested information is shown in the table, the proportion of those given various disposals is shown as a percentage of those sentenced. Lags in time between conviction and sentencing may mean that the total numbers convicted and sentenced in a year may not match. Data held by the Ministry of Justice record the age of the offender at the time of sentencing, the figures show all offenders aged over 21 and over at that point.

There is no specific offence of ‘child abuse’. The term ‘child abuse’ describes harm caused to a child arising from emotional, physical and sexual abuse or neglect caused by a parent or carer.

The statistics provided in this answer are for those offences currently identified as such, including causing or allowing the death of a child, sexual assaults against under 16s, and cruelty or neglect of a child. Not included are other forms of abuse for which there is no separate legal category, offences where the victim cannot be identified as a child from the type of offence, and cases of abuse which cannot be identified because they were proceeded against under more general offences such as physical assault.

These data are on the principal offence basis. The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Percentage1 of offenders sentenced to disposals for child abuse, 1997 to 2007

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Abandoning child under 2 years

Absolute or conditional Discharge

50.0

Offences against the Person Act 1861 Sec 27

Fine

Community sentence

100.0

100.0

50.0

Suspended Sentence

Immediate custody

100.0

100.0

Otherwise dealt with

Total number sentenced

1

1

1

1

2

Abuse of a position of trust: Sexual activity with children2

Absolute or conditional Discharge

7.1

Sexual Offences Act 2003 S16(1ei,2-5). S16(1eii,2-5), S17(1ei,2-5). S18(1fi,2-5), S19(1ei,2-5), S17(1eii,2-5)

Fine

Community sentence

40.0

14.3

31.3

26.7

Suspended Sentence

14.3

12.5

20.0

Immediate custody

60.0

64.3

56.3

53.3

Otherwise dealt with

Total number sentenced

5

14

16

15

Causing or allowing death of a child or vulnerable person

Absolute or conditional Discharge

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 S.5

Fine

Community sentence

Suspended Sentence

Immediate custody

100.0

100.0

Otherwise dealt with

0.0

0.0

Total number sentenced

2

6

Cruelty or neglect of children

Absolute or conditional Discharge

16.0

14.4

10.0

13.2

9.6

10.6

13.4

12.1

11.3

11.0

8.6

Children and Young Persons Act 1933 Sec 1

Fine

1.7

1.1

2.0

0.5

1.6

0.5

1.5

2.1

1.8

1.1

1.6

Community sentence

45.7

52.1

54.1

51.4

53.1

53.1

53.9

55.3

53.0

45.6

40.0

Suspended Sentence

5.4

3.4

5.9

5.3

4.3

5.5

3.7

4.9

10.6

17.1

30.1

Immediate custody

30.0

28.9

27.0

28.8

30.4

30.0

27.4

25.3

22.8

24.3

18.8

Otherwise dealt with

1.1

0.0

0.9

0.7

1.1

0.3

0.0

0.2

0.5

0.9

0.9

Total number sentenced

350

353

440

416

375

397

456

486

434

445

432

Rape of a female under 13 by a male2

Absolute or conditional Discharge

Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.5

Fine

Community sentence

3.9

3.6

Suspended Sentence

3.1

3.6

Immediate custody

100.0

93.8

96.1

92.7

Otherwise dealt with

3.1

Total number sentenced

3

32

51

55

Rape of a female under 16

Absolute or conditional Discharge

0.4

Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.1 also Sexual Offences Act 1956 S.1

Fine

0.5

Community sentence

0.6

0.5

0.5

0.5

1.0

0.4

1.0

0.9

Suspended Sentence

0.4

Immediate custody

98.8

99.0

99.5

98.4

99.4

99.0

99.1

98.8

98.1

99.5

98.2

Otherwise dealt with

0.6

0.5

0.0

0.5

0.6

0.0

0.4

0.4

1.0

0.5

0.9

Total number sentenced

162

199

219

186

160

196

225

252

206

191

217

Rape of a male under 13 by a male2

Absolute or conditional Discharge

Sexual Offences Act 2003 S. 5

Fine

Community sentence

18.2

9.1

Suspended Sentence

Immediate custody

100.0

72.7

90.9

Otherwise dealt with

0.0

9.1

Total number sentenced

3

11

11

Rape of a male under 16

Absolute or conditional Discharge

Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.1 also Sexual Offences Act 1956 S.1

Fine

Community sentence

Suspended Sentence

Immediate custody

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

95.5

100.0

100.0

100.0

94.7

Otherwise dealt with

4.5

5.3

Total number sentenced

15

12

20

13

17

25

22

20

20

11

19

Sexual activity involving a child2

Absolute or conditional Discharge

2.9

0.7

1.3

Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.8(1)(2)(1)(3), S.10(1a,b,ci)(3), S.9(1a,b,cii)(2), S.9(1a,b,cii)(3), S. l0(1a,b,c(ii)) (2), S.10 (1a,b,c(ii))(3)

Fine

1.0

Community sentence

47.4

37.5

20.5

22.3

Suspended Sentence

0.0

3.8

7.5

7.0

Immediate custody

52.6

54.8

68.5

68.2

Otherwise dealt with

2.7

1.3

Total number sentenced

19

104

146

157

Sexual assault of a female child under 132

Absolute or conditional Discharge

5.6

0.8

2.1

Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.7

Fine

Community sentence

33.3

33.6

20.4

16.5

Suspended Sentence

11.1

2.5

8.8

11.7

Immediate custody

44.4

62.3

66.3

69.1

Otherwise dealt with

5.6

0.8

4.4

0.5

Total number sentenced

18

122

181

188

1 The figures used are shown as a percentage of those sentenced. Lags in time between sentencing and conviction may mean the numbers sentenced and convicted in a year may not match.

2 These were enacted as distinct offences by the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Notes:

1. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems.

2. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

Source:

OMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice