new stats | 

One in five violent sex crimes involve both child victims and offenders, CSO figures show

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) found that 20pc of sexual offences reported in 2019 involved a victim and suspect who were under the age of 18 at the time.
Robin Schiller

A fifth of all violent sex crimes involve both child victims and offenders according to new figures on criminality in Ireland.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) found that 20pc of sexual offences reported in 2019 involved a victim and suspect who were under the age of 18 at the time.

Last year the number of sexual offences reported involving a child victim also accounted for three-fifths of all such crimes.

The number of homicide victims who were under 18 at the time of the offence has also increased according the CSO’s report on Crime Victims and Suspected Offenders.

In 2020 there were seven child victims of murder or manslaughter which accounted for nearly a fifth of all killing in the country.

There were also seven victims under 18 of crimes classified as dangerous driving causing death last year.

Overall, there were 14 children who were victims of homicides in 2020, which was higher than in recent years.

Over 1,560 sex crimes were reported last year in which the injured party was under 18 at the time, accounting for over three-in-five of all sexual offences reported in 2020.

Last year the majority of murder or manslaughter victims were male (84pc) while the number of female victims has fallen in each of the past three years.

Gardaí recorded 16 female victims of manslaughter and murder in 2017, compared to six last year.

The CSO also found that four out of five victims of sexual violence in 2020 were female.

Almost all suspects detected for a sex crime in 2019 were male, while assaults on female increased in 2020 compared to previous years.

Sam Scriven, Statistician with the CSO, said this increase in physical assaults on females is attributable to a greater decline in the number of male assault victims than female assault victims during 2020.

He added that the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns may also have an effect on the rise in assaults.

Over 90pc of murders of manslaughters detected were carried out by males in 2019, with 75pc of all killings involving a male suspect and victim.

For detected sexual offences, the crime involved a male suspect and female victim in 76.5pc of cases, with almost one in four sex crimes being male on male.

More than half of all sexual crimes reported to gardaí in 2020 were incidents which occurred less than a year prior to the complaint being made.

Over a quarter of victims of sexual offences reported crimes last year which occurred more than ten years earlier.

Of those who reported such crimes to gardaí in 2020, the number reporting crimes that took place in the last year fell sharply by over 17pc.

The CSO said it should be noted that in general reported crime has decreased in the past 12 months likely due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

By contrast the number of historic sexual offences, which occurred over a year before being report, rose slightly last year.

The CSO said that these “contrasting trends meant that the share of victims who reported historic sexual crime rose from 38.5pc of sexual violence crime victims in 2019 to 43.5pc of sexual violence crime victims in 2020”.

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