Number of sexual offences rise by 11.7%, CSO figures report

Crime is up among most categories - including robbery, sexual offences and drugs possession - according to new figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

Number of sexual offences rise by 11.7%, CSO figures report

However, the CSO has applied a ‘health warning’ to the recorded crime statistics due to the office’s ongoing concerns about the quality of the data it is receiving from gardaí.

The figures released by the CSO show that in the 12 months up to September 2018:

  • There was a 11.7% overall increase in sexual offences, including a 17.4% increase in rape, and a 10.8% rise in non-aggravated sexual assault.
  • There was a 19.3% drop in homicide offences - but a 6.7% rise in attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences.
  • While there was a slight decrease in drink driving (1.7% drop), the number of cases of driving under the influence of drugs rose by almost half (49.4%).

Number of sexual offences rise by 11.7%, CSO figures report

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the rise in the recorded incidents of sexual assault, and particularly rape, "continues to be an area of key focus for both the Government and An Garda Síochána”.

I would strongly encourage anyone who has been the victim of such attacks to please contact An Garda Síochána and report the incident as soon as possible. I can assure all members of the public that Gardaí will be on hand to support all those who come forward where they will be treated at all times in a professional and sensitive manner

Mr Flanagan said.

Mr Flanagan said the sexual offences bill currently progressing through the Dáil will provide for stricter sentencing for repeat sexual offenders, and a review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences, with an emphasis on vulnerable witnesses, is underway. He praised the work of gardaí in tackling organised crime and murder and said Operation Hybrid in Dublin’s North Inner-City has prevented more than 50 murders.

In releasing the figures, the CSO has again said that the statistics are released ‘under reservation’, due to its concerns about the quality of the source data, which is taken from An Garda Síochána’s PULSE database.

Statistician, Olive Loughnane, said the CSO will continue to apply this health warning to the recorded crime stats until it is satisfied with the quality and accuracy of the source data: “In March, the CSO resumed publication of recorded crime statistics using the category of 'Statistics Under Reservation' to provide the best available measure of police-recorded crime in Ireland while informing users of their concerns regarding the quality of the underlying data."

Number of sexual offences rise by 11.7%, CSO figures report

“The CSO is committed to assisting AGS in improving data quality wherever possible, and have proposed a data quality improvement plan to AGS. The criteria in this plan address quality concerns across a broad range of issues relating to the recording and classification of crime,” she said.

Mr Flanagan said a recent CSO review found “that clear improvements had been made in the manner in which criminal incidents were being recorded on the PULSE system”.

“While this is encouraging, it is clear that there is more work to be done in this area and my Department, in conjunction with the Policing Authority, will continue to monitor the progress of An Garda Síochána and the CSO in ensuring that the national crime statistics are returned to the higher standard required by the CSO,” he said.


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