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COPFS

Sexual Abuse – Cases against Children 2014 – 2015 (R010937)

Freedom of Information: Sexual Abuse – Cases against Children 2014 – 2015 (R010937)

Thank you for your request dated 27 July 2015, under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:

“In Scotland, how many sexual abuses cases against children did you receive in 2014-2015?

Out of those cases, how many went to court?

Then, how many of the cases resulted in prosecution?

If you can’t provide the details specifically for Scotland, results for the whole of the UK will suffice.”

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you. 

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's case management database is a live, operating database.  It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of criminal cases, and the information within it is structured accordingly.  We do not have a separate database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes, ie to prepare court documentation; to send and receive electronic information regarding court appearances and results; to cite witnesses; to deal with issues relating to disclosure of information to the defence etc.

Charges relating to sexual crimes have been analysed to provide the undernoted figures to you.  The Police or other reporting agency are required to “electronically flag” a charge involving a child and this allows COPFS to electronically search for cases of sexual abuse involving children and the information provided relates to “flagged” cases and to all sexual abuse charges which specifically relate to children. 

It should also be noted that the information provided relates to the number of charges which have been reported to COPFS and that one or more charges may be contained in a case. 

I can advise that using the process described above to extract the information from our database, 3,957 charges involving sexual abuse against children have been identified as having been reported to COPFS in the financial year 2014/15. 

To date, court proceedings have been raised in 2,462 of those charges.

Following initial court proceedings, 2,334 of those charges continued to be prosecuted.

Convictions were obtained in 382 of those charges and the court process is currently ongoing in respect of 1,736 of the charges. 

In some cases court proceedings were not raised in certain of the charges included in the case, for example, because the prosecutor took the view than an alternative charge was more appropriate or because details of the charge were included in the body of another charge for evidential reasons; and this accounts for 347 of the reported charges. 

For information about the issues that the Procurator Fiscal must take into account when deciding how to proceed with a particular case, you may wish refer to our prosecution code.