Youth

~ Prosecutions on the increase ~

It is clear from both the number of instructions that we now receive and the statistical evidence that has been recently been released, that the number of sexual assault related offences is steadily on the increase. As a specialist criminal defence firm that has a pre-eminent reputation for dealing with such matters, and a number of recent acquittals to our name, we have noted that there is an increasing need for specialism within the area of criminal defence work generally.

The complex nature of such investigations is often telling. The range of offences is vast and complex. The numbers of both historic and recent sexual related offences being reported has increased, but so has the number of reports of sexual offences being committed by young people against other young people.

The recent statistics from 38 of the 43 Police Forces in England, reveals that there has been a 71% increase in sexual abuse by one young person on another young person, with many of these offences allegedly taking place in the school environment. From data gathered from 31 Forces, it is suggested that there have been over 2,600 sexual offences committed within the school setting, with 30 Forces suggesting that the number of sexual related offences by children over the age of 10 has doubled in the last year.

Dealing with youths is complicated, there are set procedures, safe guards and special rules and laws that govern how young people should be dealt with. However, the system often fails them, especially when the case starts with an internal investigation by the school.

Even though the police may not be involved to start with, and it is only the school that is asking the questions, the answers that may be given can and will be given to the Police—they can become the building blocks in how the Police decide to prepare a case.

As a firm that understands these procedures and one that frequently deals with such matters, we are well versed in being able to deal with such cases. Given the widespread increase in the number of these offences being reported, if you or your child is concerned about such matters and is being spoken to by the school or has been contacted by the police, it is vitally important that expert legal advice is taken immediately.

The damage that can be done where no expert legal advice is taken can be fatal to a case later.

If the case does progress further beyond an internal school investigation, it will be passed to the police. Beyond that, it may go to Court. At each of these stages, there are different legal considerations and tests that need to be taken into account. There are strict rules governing how such cases should proceed. Regrettably, many general criminal defence firms are not equipped to deal with these issues or familiar enough with them.

Many lawyers do not appreciate the timetable that should be employed by the police when such matters are reported, to safeguard the interests of all parties.

When the future liberty and reputation of a young person is at stake, with the implications of the Sex Offenders Register, making sure that the case is prepared and conducted properly from the outset is vital.

As a firm that has advised and assisted countless young people and has extensive experience in dealing with sexual offences, contact us today if you require expert assistance.