New research examines progression of sexual offence cases through the justice system

The Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) has today released a research paper titled Attrition of sexual offence incidents across the Victorian criminal justice system.

Sexual offences historically have had higher attrition rates than many other offences, meaning fewer of the recorded offences result in cases which progress through to a conviction in the criminal justice system. This new research examines how many sexual offences progress through the criminal justice system, from first being recorded by police through to being heard in court. The study builds on previous work in this area by linking information about sexual offending incidents recorded by police directly to cases heard in court.

The research found that of the 7,066 sexual offence incidents recorded by Victoria Police throughout 2009 and 2010, over a third were progressed to prosecution by police. Of those that were progressed, 69% were matched to a court case, indicating that the offences went on to be heard in court.

The study also looked at characteristics of offenders, victims and cases that were statistically related to whether a case progressed. These included the type of offence, with indecent assault cases more likely to progress than rape cases. Where the length of the police investigation was more than two weeks, cases were also less likely to progress through the system.

You can read the full research paper here. 

The media release for this paper can be found here.