Saturday 20 April 2019

Number of reported sexual offences up 10pc since start of 'MeToo' movement

Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

There was a jump of more than 10pc in the number of sexual offences recorded last year.

It came as the international 'MeToo' movement continued to shine a light on inappropriate sexual conduct and sex crimes.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the recorded crime statistics for 2018, which showed a significant jump in the sexual offences category.

There were 298 more cases in 2018 compared with 2017.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said work was ongoing in the Department of Justice to reform aspects of the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences.

However, the biggest increase was in the area of fraud offences, where there was an 18.4pc rise in the same period. There were 998 more offences under the heading compared to 2017.

There was an increase of 11.3pc in recorded robberies, but homicides dropped by 10.8pc, burglary dropped by 11.5pc and criminal damage decreased by 7.2pc.

Recorded crime statistics have remained under scrutiny since the CSO expressed concern about the quality of the information collated by gardaí on the Pulse system.

As such, the figures published by the CSO were done so "under reservation", meaning they do not meet the standards required for official statistics.

Sam Scriven, a statistician with the CSO, repeated concerns about the quality of the data.

"The publication of the latest recorded crime statistics provides the best available measure of crime reported in Ireland, while informing users of concerns regarding the quality of the underlying data," he said in a statement.

The CSO said next month it intends to publish statistics relating to the victims of serious crimes such as homicides, assaults and sexual offences.

"The publication of these statistics is in response to considerable user demand for such statistics," it said.

The Justice Minister said work was ongoing between the force and the CSO to return all crime statistics to the higher "official statistics" standard required.

The Policing Authority was closely monitoring that process.

Irish Independent

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