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Serious Sexual Assaults

Volume 560: debated on Monday 25 March 2013

18. What assessment she has made of the capabilities of the police to record, investigate and detect rapes and serious sexual assaults. (149425)

Rape and sexual violence are devastating crimes that ruin lives. We expect every report to be taken seriously, every victim to be treated with dignity, and every investigation to be conducted thoroughly and professionally. Our updated violence against women and girls action plan sets out our commitment to take a coherent approach to tackling sexual violence.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. Does he agree that people are sometimes being let off with a caution for lower-level sexual offences and that that is unacceptable? If he does agree, what is he going to do about it?

The Government will shortly be announcing a review of the caution regime. I am as determined as the right hon. Gentleman is to ensure that cautions, which provide a useful part of the criminal justice system, are used only in appropriate circumstances. I should say that the number of cautions used in cases of serious sexual abuse is low, with such cautions tending to be used for young offenders, for reasons that are clear in each individual case. However, I rather share his concerns about the use of cautions in this field.