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Say sorry and you can go free: Rapists and child abusers allowed to escape punishment if they apologise to their victims

Figures show sex offenders are being handed community resolution orders
Orders mean they can escape prosecution if they apologise to their victims
Revealed Wiltshire Police dealt with 30 serious sexual offences with orders
Victims groups say it does not send out a tough message to sex offenders


6 September 2014 | UPDATED: 18:22, 6 September 2014

Rapists and child abusers are escaping punishment and being allowed to walk free by police if they say sorry to their victims.

New figures show that some those accused of sexual offences are being handed community resolution orders, also known as restorative justice.

The orders are often used to punish youths so they do not get a criminal record and usually involve the offender making a verbal or written apology to their victim.

However, it is now emerged that in 2012/13, Wiltshire Police dealt with around 30 serious sexual offences, which included rape and sexual activity with a child, by handing out a community resolution order.

In a return check last year, it found 58 people accused of sexual offence allegations, including five of rape, were handed the orders.

Crime statistics for the Wiltshire force area show that between May 2013 and July 2014, there were 142 violent and sexual crimes.

Now victims' groups have spoken out and criticised the procedure saying it does not send a tough message to offenders that their behaviour is unacceptable.

Details of the practice at Wiltshire Police were revealed in a report by HM Inspectorate of Constabularies, which branded their use of community resolution orders for sexual offences as 'unacceptable'.

The report states: 'An internal report in 2012/13 concludes that “Wiltshire Police has intentionally or inadvertently, manipulated the recording of sexual offences and thereby improved the perception of performance”.

'The report estimates the number of rapes not recorded at around 50, and that around 30 serious sexual offences were dealt with by way of community resolutions including rape and sexual activity with a child.

'The latest force checks have identified some 58 such outcomes, of which, in the previous year, five were for rape crimes.'

Jon Brown from the NSPCC told the Daily Express: 'The justice system needs to be more victim focused, and not a reflection on whether the perpetrator deserved prison or not.

'A custodial sentence for serious sexual offences is the only way to send a clear message that society will not accept their behaviour.'

However the report added that the force, headed by new chief constable Patrick Geenty, had made considerable investment into changing the culture, in making sure all offences are recorded.

It comes after Mailonline revealed last month through figures obtained through Freedom of Information laws, that people arrested on suspicion of rape, child rape, creating child porn, child abduction and sexually abusing a mental patient escaped prosecution by apologising.

The shocking figures from 38 of England and Wales' police forces show resolution orders were used in 30 rape cases, including 21 involving children.

One of the orders was given to a care worker in the West Midlands who caused a mental patient to engage in a penetrative sex act.

Five other orders involved kidnap or abduction, 75 were for sexually assaulting young children, and 284 sexual assaults were passed off with an apology.

Conservative MP Nick de Bois, who sits on the Commons justice committee, said he would be calling on the Government to review the orders.

He said: 'It's shocking that offenders who admit to serious criminal offences are being offered the chance to say sorry and walk away from answering in a court of law for their crimes.'

The data also showed that overall restorative justice had allowed 256,816 crimes to pass without offenders going to court in the last three-and-a-half years.