Almost 50% rise in sexual offences, CSO figures show

Recorded sexual offences jumped by almost 50% between 2007 and 2011 — but detection levels of those crimes dropped.

Of the nearly 2,000 sex crimes committed in 2011, only one in six cases resulted in charges being brought, according to the CSO.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland raised concerns at the length to time prosecutions were taking, pointing out that of the cases taken in 2011, less than a quarter concluded in the same year.

A CSO analysis for the years 2007-2011 shows:

*Homicides fell by 50% — and of the 66 incidents in 2011, 86% were detected and 76% resulted in charges;

*Sexual offences rose by 49% — and of the 1,992 cases, 57% were detected and 16% ended in charges;

*Robberies rose by 34% — and of the 2,921 cases, 49% were detected and 30% resulted in charges;

*Burglaries increased by 17% — and of the 3,761 cases, 23% were detected and 14% ended in charges.

Of the 15 crime categories, recorded crimes rose in six and fell in 10. In relation to detection rates — where cases are solved and generally result in charges — rates fell in four categories, rose in seven, and were unchanged in five.

Detection rates fell for homicides (90% to 86%) and sexual offences (60% to 57%). Detection rates rose for assaults (59% to 62%), kidnappings (58% to 68%), and weapons (87% to 90%).

Sexual offences showed the biggest increase, from 1,334 recorded crimes in 2007 to 1,992 in 2011. This included a rise in rape cases (354 to 455), a doubling of defilement of a minor (72 to 147), and a doubling of child pornography cases (77 to 158).

Cliona Saidlear of Rape Crisis Network Ireland said the rise in the number of cases occurred at a time of a huge increase in reporting, particularly from those abused in institutions or by clergy. She said of the 327 cases brought to court in 2011 only 23% were concluded in that year.

“The most significant thing for survivors is the delay, and causes the most distress and a huge amount of attrition,” she said.

While the total number of assaults fell, the number of attempted murders/threats of murder more than doubled (166 to 394).

Assaults on gardaí rose from 240 to 309. The rise in dangerous acts was due to a massive increase in speeding detections (192,000 to 261,000).

There was a fall in car thefts, but a rise in thefts from the person, from shops, and of bicycles.

While the number of drug offences fell, the number of drug cultivation cases more than trebled (161 to 577).

Firearms offences were down, but explosive offences almost trebled, while knife possession cases rose slightly. Public order cases dropped (mainly due to falls in public drunkenness), but the number of riots jumped.

*www.cso.ie

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