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Archive for November 2nd, 2019

Raping in NZ with implied impunity: Fewer than 1 in 100 rapists and sexual offenders go to prison

Posted by te2ataria on November 2, 2019

Blog estimate: About 150,000 NZers were victimised by more than 300,000 acts of sexual violence in the last 12 months!

Sexual violence in NZ: MOJ releases 4-year rape report

“Sexual violence is prevalent in New Zealand, with a quarter of adults experiencing it sometime in their lives. However, only a small proportion is reported to Police, and of those reported only a small proportion results in conviction.” Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

Experiences of adults

“In 2018, according to the New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey (NZCVS), approximately 87,000 New Zealand adults (aged 15 years or more) were the victim of around 193,000 incidents of sexual violence. Of these adult victims, 71% were female, 81% were European, 18% were Māori, and 66% were aged between 15 – 19 years. Additionally, 904,000 adults (23% of New Zealand adults) were estimated to have experienced one or more incidents of sexual violence at some point during their lives. It is estimated that less than 10% of adult sexual violence victimisations are reported to Police.

[Note: NZ population was 4,841,000 (Stats NZ 2017 estimate) of whom 19.6% were aged 0–14 years, 65.5% were 15–64 years, and 14.9% were 65 and over.]

According to MOJ: “More than half the reported victimisations related to children and young people.”

Of the 23,739 sexual violence victimisations reported to Police in the 4-year period between July 2014 and June 2018, more than three-quarters (77%) occurred when the victim was aged 24 years or less:

  • In 63% of the cases the victim was a child or young person aged 17 years or younger, including:
    • children aged 11 years or younger (27%)
    • young people aged between 12 and 17 years (34%)
    • children and young people whose exact age was not known (2%).
  • For a further 14% the victim was aged between 18 and 24 years when the victimisation occurred.

Were did the police figures come from??

“There was a slightly different age profile for when the victimisation was reported to Police, with 65% reported by victims aged 24 years or less. Just under half (47%) the victimisations were reported when the victim was aged 17 years or under and 53% were reported by adults aged 18 years or more.”

Proportion of victimisations reported that progressed to sentencing by court:

Substantial attrition for victimisations that were reported to Police occurred at the Police investigation stage.

“For example, by early 2019, only:

  • 31% of reported victimisations resulted in a perpetrator being charged
  • 11% resulted in a conviction
  • 6% had a prison sentence.”


“This means that if only 10% of sexual violence is reported to Police, for every 100 victimisations only three results in a perpetrator being charged, and only one results in a conviction.”

Reported victimisations increased by 21% over the last four years

There was a 21% increase in the number of sexual violence victimisations reported to Police between 2014/2015 and 2017/2018.

Prevalence of sexual violence in New Zealand: Attrition rates are extremely high

It is estimated that less than 10% [actual figure is about 6% –Editor] of sexual violence is reported to Police (Ministry of Justice 2015). Within the justice system, further attrition occurs when victimisations that are reported to Police do not progress to prosecution and conviction…”

“In this study, 8% of all the reported victimisations had an investigation that was continuing (by early 2019). However, for more than half (56%) of victimisations reported to Police, an investigation was undertaken but Police were unable to proceed against the perpetrator. [Police were unwilling, unable and or too incompetent to prosecute. Editor]”

Of the cases that proceeded, about a “half (51%) took up to a year in total to receive a charge outcome and most (87%) had an outcome after a total of two years. For the remaining 13% of victimisations it took two years or more.”

“In the most recent year, 2017/2018 […] for a large proportion of reported victimisations the investigation did not result in action against a perpetrator.”

Definition of victimisation

“A ‘victimisation’ is an individual criminal offence that a victim experiences (e.g. if a person is raped […], they are the victim, […] the perpetrator and the act of the rape is the victimisation). A victim may experience more than one victimisation over a period of time, from one or more perpetrators. A victimisation may or may not be reported to Police.”

Characteristics of the reported victimisations influence progression

  • Child or young person victimisations – around half of all victimisations were reported when the victim was a child or young person (aged 17 years and under). These took longer to progress from reporting to charge outcome.
  • Historic childhood victimisations – most likely to result in court action but also more likely to still be active in court and awaiting sentencing. Overall these took the longest time from reporting to charge outcome.
  • Adult victimisations – less likely to result in court action, but once in court were more likely to have a not guilty outcome. When convicted these were less likely to receive a prison sentence.
  • Offence types – were associated with the age of the victim. Victimisations for sexual violation (the most serious offence type, including rape and unlawful sexual connection) were less likely to result in court action and less likely to be convicted. Once in court, indecent assault was more likely to be convicted, but less likely to receive a prison sentence. Sexual violation victimisations took longer to progress from reporting to charge outcome.
  • Māori victims – court action was similar for Māori and non-Māori victims, but once in court, victimisations for Māori were more likely to have a conviction and a prison sentence

Source: Attrition and progression: Reported sexual violence victimisations in the criminal justice system

This post includes text that is copyrighted: 2019 © Crown Copyright

The MOJ report doesn’t include large numbers of sexual violence incidents that occur in the military.

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