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Prosecutions for Child Sexual Abuse have more than halved in 4 years

According to research carried out by the NSPCC, prosecutions and convictions for Child Sexual Abuse have fallen dramatically in the last four years. Information received via Freedom of Information requests indicated that whilst in 2016/17 there were 6,394 prosecutions, by 2020/21 that number had more than halved to 3,025. Convictions also dropped by 45% from 4,751 to 2,595 over the same period.

An additional concern is that the time taken for cases to reach court and finish trial have increased by 4 months in the last 3 years. The average time in 2020 for proceedings to conclude was 1 year and 10 months.

Anna Edmundson, NSPCC Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said:

"Young victims of abuse have often lived through unimaginable trauma but many want to share their evidence with a court and prevent perpetrators from causing further harm.

These figures show young witnesses are being denied this opportunity and those who do go to court experience long delays and inadequate support which risks retraumatising them further.

This is utterly unacceptable. We call on Dominic Raab to review and reverse the decline in prosecutions and convictions, use the Victims' Law to tackle the delays affecting child sexual abuse cases going through court and provide much better support for young witnesses and victims."

For more information and statistics, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers

19.01.2022