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article image8,000 Sex Offenders Get Just A Slap On The Wrist

By Michelle Duffy     Jun 11, 2007 in Crime
We put not just our trust but our lives in the judicial systems put in place in our countries, so how should we react when in England, almost 8,000 sex offenders have been let off with a caution rather than a jail sentence in the last five years?
This horrifying report shows that in the UK in the last five years, so many sex offenders have been given a literal tap on the wrist and asked not to do it again, rather than be put in prison where they should be. This news can only be linked to the increased number of child abuse and sex attacks in Britain in recent years.
So who exactly is being let down the most by the judicial system in the UK? Well, no prizes for guessing that it is our children who are suffering the most meaning that 1,600 cases of paedophilia in recent years has resulted in the offender being ticked off and sent home. Women have also been in the firing line when it comes to the lack of protection through the courts resulting in over 230 rapes given the same pathetic treatment.
Yet the governing body, the Association of Chief Police Officers has said that the cautions have been handed out where it has felt to be the most necessary act to carry out. Surely ALL sex offences and rapes need to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently -with a prison sentence, to not only show other future offenders that this will happen to them should the carry out an offence, but also to allow other women and children a sense of protection from another rapist who is now off the streets.
These shocking results were a result of the BBC making enquiries to every police force in the UK for such information. The list of offences which carries a caution were: as rape, downloading child porn, bigamy, exploitation of prostitution, indecent exposure, sexual offences against animals, sexual grooming and familial sex offences (incest). In total for the UK, it is thought that over 350 of these cases were against a child under the age of 13.
Pretty shocking for any parent in the UK, and we wonder who else follows the same path to keeping jail cells free. Yet this system has met great opposition despite a governing police body informing us that this is standard procedure.
However, the UK government has clamped down on the 'slap on the wrist' technique saying that there are only very rare occasions where such a light ''get off' is appropriate.
ACPO came quickly to their defence saying that they did not mean that these criminals were receiving the easy way out. They insisted that these cautions were also given a criminal record and a place on the register of sex offenders - even so, not elements which an offender will take into consideration the next time he attacks a woman or child.
Leader of ACPO and a Chief Constable in his own right, said,
"Every decision made to prosecute or issue a caution is reached after very careful thought and consideration. Every incident will be treated on its own merit, taking into account the circumstances of the incident and the people involved. A caution will only be given if it is agreed to be the most appropriate course of action. These decisions are usually taken after full consultation with our partners."
Other cases where a caution may arise is where there has been consensual sex between under age girl and boy and where an offenders mental health, age and opinion of the victim, what ever that may mean, have been taken into account.
Yet the judicial system feels that they are up against the police in the subject of who gets a caution and who doesn't, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice told BBC news,
"The government is committed to securing more convictions in rape cases and has commissioned the child sex offender review to ensure that children are better protected from paedophiles. There are very few circumstances indeed where a caution for rape or offences against children is the most appropriate sanction. Use of cautions is a matter for the police but in exceptional circumstances - for instance where the victim does not want to proceed with a prosecution."
The argument between the government and the police goes on, but until the system is changed on who decides who gets a sore wrist and who doesn't, we will continue to put ourselves and our children at risk from sex offenders....
More about Cautions, For, 000 sex
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