We have to seriously question why conviction rates are dropping when we know more child sexual abuse cases are going to court, says Alan Wardle
The number of convictions in child sexual abuse prosecutions in 2014/15 rose 19 per cent from 3,344 to 3,975, the highest volume ever according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Violence against Women and Girls crime report published today. However, although there were more successful prosecutions the conviction rate actually fell (from 76.5 per cent to 73.8 per cent).
While the report focuses on the experiences of women and girls, the research also raises strong concerns about the treatment of children and young people in our justice system. The figures serve as a strong reminder that we need to ensure young victims have the best support possible when giving evidence.
Although conviction rates are dropping it's still very encouraging to see more cases are being brought and prosecuted. We need to ensure children who have been abused feel confident that they can come forward and that they will be listened to. However, we also need to ensure children who do come forward are supported through the court system, which is one that has been designed by adults for adults.