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Sex attack victims are being forced to wait an average of eight years for justice

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Sex assault victims face eight-year wait for justice as cases are taking 50% longer to get through courts than before Covid pandemic, new figures show

  • Sex attack victims are waiting on average eight years to see justice done
  • It also takes 426 days from police charging an offender to the end of their trial
  • The average doubles in some parts of the UK, with North Yorkshire cases seeing  an average of 16 years pass by before an offender is put behind bars 

Sex attack victims are being forced to wait an average of eight years for justice, shocking figures showed yesterday.

In some areas it takes more than 16 years to put an offender behind bars, with cases now lasting 50 per cent longer than before the pandemic.

The latest Ministry of Justice figures for October to December 2021 show that the average time between a sex attack happening and the trial ending is 2,937 days, which is more than eight years.

It also takes 426 days on average from police charging a sex offender to the end of their trial. In 2018 it was 284 days.

The delays cause further distress in cases where the attack may have happened years before the victim felt able to go to the police.

Hundreds of trials are also being abandoned every month because of shortages of specialist prosecutors, defence barristers and even judges.

Sex attack victims are being forced to wait on average eight years for trials to conclude according to figures from the Ministry of Justice, with some victims waiting for over a decade

Sex attack victims are being forced to wait on average eight years for trials to conclude according to figures from the Ministry of Justice, with some victims waiting for over a decade 

Analysis by the Criminal Bar Association reveals that a record 179 trials were ditched last year because no judge was available to preside.

In some cases, women have been left suicidal by the delays and campaigners fear attackers are being left free to claim new victims.

Officials insist that more victims of historical sexual offences have had the confidence to come forward, which has led to the average time between offence and case completion rising.

The worst delays are in North Yorkshire where sex assault victims waited an average of more than 16 years from an offence to the conclusion of their case. The equivalent figure was just four years in 2018.

Criminal barristers in England and Wales are due to take industrial action today in protest over levels of legal aid.

Jo Sidhu QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: ‘The perfect storm is already raging across the country as trial delays lengthen because we simply do not have sufficient numbers of judges, prosecutors, and defenders to deal with the backlog.’

The Ministry of Justice is spending £1billion to boost court capacity and accelerate trials post-pandemic.

A spokesman said: ‘We are determined to get victims the swift justice they deserve – that’s why we are increasing court capacity and overhauling our entire response to rape while boosting funding for support services to £185million a year.’

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