Police using Cautions rather than charging sex offenders
by Louise Livesey // 11 June 2007, 10:42
"It is a slap in the face when the man is let off with merely a caution, a huge setback when you are trying to rebuild your life. Getting justice is essential to recovery after rape - cautions confirm that the authorities hardly count what happened to you as serious."
So why have 8,000 sex offenders been "let off" with a Caution rather than charged? Including 1,600 offences involving children of which 350 were involving children under the age of 13. Another 230 were for rapes.
ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) said the age, welfare, mental well-being and views of the victim would be taken into account as would the severity of an attack.
So obviously if you deal well with the attack then it's OK not to prosecute the offender? A strange position which has been taken for some years now on sexual violence. According to ACPO circumstances where a caution would be given for rape could include cases where the victim does not turn up to give evidence in court or in any situation where there is a clear admission of guilt.
ACPO denied a caution was a "letting off" because it does mean a criminal record and - in the case of a sex offence - the need to go on the sex offenders register. For a caution to be used there must be an admission of guilt (which leads to being put on the sex offenders register).
The caution will show up on a search of criminal records.
The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) claims cautions are only used in exceptional cases.