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Offences against Children: Sentencing

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for offences related to (a) child abuse, (b) child neglect and (c) sexual abuse of children in the latest period for which figures are available. (282978)

The available data are shown in the following table. The data show the number of offenders sentenced to immediate custody for child neglect and sexual abuse of children in the last year for which figures are available. The term “child abuse” has no specific recognised definition but includes a range of sexual and physical offences against children, such as it describes harm caused to a child arising from physical, sexual abuse or neglect caused by a parent, guardian, carer, or stranger. A number of other offences such as offences against the person including physical assault may frequently be used by the police to charge offenders but where the age of the victim is not known. This data are based on the principal offence. Where an offender has been sentenced for more than one offence it is the one for which the heaviest sentence was imposed, where the same sentence has been imposed for more than one offence the principal offence is the one for which the statutory maximum is most severe.

Number of persons sentenced to immediate custody for child abuse including child neglect and sexual abuse of children, 2007

Number of children

Sexual abuse of children1

1,199

Child neglect2

99

Child abuse3

1,298

1 Includes the following offences:

Sexual assault of a male child aged under 13

Rape, attempted rape of a male or female aged under 13 or under 16

Sexual assault of a female child aged under 13

Sexual activity with a male or female child aged under 13

Sexual activity with a male or female aged under 16

Familial sexual offences of a male or female child aged under 13

Abuse of children aged under 18 through prostitution and pornography

Abuse of trust sexual offences against a child aged under 18

Meeting a male or female aged under 16 following sexual grooming.

2 Causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable person.

Cruelty or neglect of children.

Abandoning children under 2 years.

3 The term child abuse has no specific definition, in this answer it refers to the offences included in sexual abuse of children and child neglect.

Notes:

1. The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with.

2. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force on 1 May 2004.

3. 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.

Source:

OMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice.