March 29, 2023 8.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

Loophole helps four Lincolnshire child sex offenders escape criminal records

They weren’t given criminal records

Four child rape cases in Lincolnshire were dealt with using ‘Community Resolutions’ last year.

Police can use the measures where offenders are willing to accept responsibility, apologise or clean up damage.

However, The Daily Mail reported that at least 1,000 sex offenders avoided criminal records over the past two years by apologising to their victims.

Nationally, police gave out ‘Community Resolutions’ in 1,064 such cases in 2021 and 2022, including several involving child rape.

In 2022, Lincolnshire Police handed out the penalty in four child rape cases, including one involving a girl under 13.

In a statement to The Lincolnite, Detective Superintendent Liz Rogers, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People, said: “A thorough decision-making process and risk assessment is completed where an out of court disposal is considered; this would include taking the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service where appropriate.”

The report adds that some of the sexual offences may have occurred between consenting underage children. The incident is recorded as a crime, but police forces believe it would be too severe to take a teenager to court for punishment.

Figures show that police are increasingly using the measures to deal with sex offences, and some believe it is inappropriate.

Jayne Butler, chief executive of Rape Crisis England and Wales, was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: “We do not believe that restorative justice or community resolutions are appropriate remedies for sex offences, or other forms of violence against women and girls.

“Justice solutions such as these minimise the severity of sexual violence and its impact on survivors and fail to acknowledge the inherent power dynamics at play in these types of crimes.

“It’s important to understand that even so-called “low-level” forms of sexual violence can be extremely traumatising. Whilst perpetrators are being given second chances, victims and survivors are left to deal with the impacts of their experiences.”

The College of Policing said: “Community Resolutions provide an opportunity for the police to deal with appropriate low level offences and offenders without recourse to formal criminal justice sanctions.

“This could include a simple apology, an offer of compensation or a promise to clear up any graffiti or criminal damage.”

According to The Centre for Justice Innovation, Community Resolutions can also be used for specific offences, including sexual offences cases (child under 13 or inter familial), but it must be authorised by a PPU Detective Superintendent.

The number of times the penalty has been deployed nationally in all sexual offences increased by 53%, Home Office figures obtained by the Daily Mail show.

The Mail said its analysis of the official figures shows “the sanction was used to settle 643 sex crimes – including rapes, sexual assaults, grooming and flashing offences – in the year to March 2022.” This is 53% more than the 421 seen in the previous year.

The report adds that the number of sexual assault cases being resolved by police in this way has doubled from 178 in 2021 to 371 last year.

The figures also show that community resolutions are being handed out for adult offences, including sexual exploitation of a child.

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