How widespread is youth sexual assault?
It is clear from the statistical evidence released that the number of sexual assault related offences is steadily on the increase in society.
The complex nature of sexual assault investigations is often telling and the range of offences is considerable. The numbers of both historic sexual assaults 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 reveal 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 police 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.
How do the police deal with youth sexual assault cases?
Dealing with youth offences can be complex as there are set procedures, safeguards and laws that govern how young people should be dealt with if they are accused of a sexual offence. However, the system often fails youth offenders, especially when the case starts with an internal investigation by the school.
Even though the police may not be involved at the outset of a case and it is only their school that is asking questions of the individual, the answers that may be given can and will be given to the police and this information can become the building blocks in how the police decide to prepare a case.
Given the widespread increase in the number of these offences being reported, if you or your child is concerned about such matters and they have been spoken to at school or they have been contacted by the police, it is essential that you seek expert legal advice as soon as you are able.If the case does progress 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 also strict rules governing how such cases should proceed.
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 – alongside the implications of a possible addition to the sex offenders’ register – ensuring the youth sexual assault case is prepared and conducted properly from the outset is vital.
If you or your child is faced with a charge of youth sexual assault, get in touch with our team of expert sexual offence solicitors at Lawtons for expert advice and assistance.
As a specialist criminal defence firm that has a pre-eminent reputation for dealing with such matters – and with a number of recent acquittals to our name – we have extensive experience in dealing with sexual offences.