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Offences Against Children: Sentencing

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders aged 21 years or over 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 for rape or attempted rape of a child under the age of 13 years in each year since 2004. (276444)

The available information is shown in the following table.

Figures for year 2008 will be available in autumn 2009.

Data provided relate to offences of rape and attempted rape of a child less than 13 years of age under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 s.5 which commenced for offences committed from 1 May 2004 and replaced what was called prior to that unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13.

Records on offences of rape and attempted rape committed before the new provision came into force do not identify separately children under 13 years from those aged under 16 and therefore they are not included. The increased numbers over the years reflect the transition to the new legislation. As 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.

Number of offenders aged 21 years and over sentenced for rape1 or attempted rape2 of a child under the age of 13 years ,by type of sentence in England and Wales, 2004-07

Type of sentence





Conditional or Absolute discharge


Community sentence



Suspended sentence3



Immediate custody





Otherwise dealt with








1,2 offences under Sexual offences Act 2003 s.5 which came into force on 1 May 2004:

Rape of a female child under 13 by a male.

Rape of a male child under 13 by a male.

Attempted rape of a female child under 13 by a male.

Attempted rape of a male child under 13 by a male.

3 Introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 came into force on 4 April 2005 and replaced the previous fully suspended sentence. It applies only to persons aged 18 and over.


The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence 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.

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


OMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice