Questions to answer

It is hardly surprising that those who believe they were the victims of a sexual offence make up the majority of people who ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to explain why, after their allegations have been investigated, that nobody is prosecuted. 

We do not, as a government minister showed this week, have a good record in this area.

Under legislation introduced two years ago more than 1,100 aggrieved people asked the DPP to explain why no charges were laid in their case. Of these 38% related to sexual offences, 24%, to assaults and other non-fatal offences against the person. Just 15% were classified as theft or fraud and offences involving death made up 9% of requests.

This departure seems another example of transparency having a positive impact on the conduct of our public affairs by highlighting an area that demands further research. We need to understand why there is such a high dissatisfaction rating with the DPP’s decisions not to bring prosecutions. It also highlights an area that demands, more than anything, a fundamental change in how we behave towards others.

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