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With better victim protection, doors open on historic sex crime

Better protection for victims, coupled to new legislation to prosecute offenders, has led to a domino effect of victims of historic sexual offences coming forward, the police have said.

There have been a number of cases of this nature in recent years, including a case last week in which a man was jailed for 18 years for raping a young girl.

But the large number of cases before the courts is more about awareness than an increase in offending.

“There has not been an increase in these types of incidents,” said Detective Inspector Roy Perez, in an interview with the Chronicle.

“It has been more or less stable.”

“However, there has been more awareness and the public clearly have more faith in the judicial system and in us.”

But what do the police put that down to?

“The change in law protecting the witnesses themselves,” Inspector Perez said, adding that witnesses were previously not as well protected as they are now.

The introduction of the Crimes Act and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act in 2012 ushered in a whole raft of special measures that police now have at their disposal to implement in order to make victims feel more comfortable, all the way from giving their initial statement to police to testifying in court.

As well as video links and screens in court, the victim now only has to testify once in court. Prior to the 2012, legislation victims were required to give evidence three times; at the committal stage, at the arraignment stage and finally at trial.

This means that members of the public are now more confident in reporting these matters to police, Inspector Perez said.

The new legislation has also given the police a wider scope of offences to match to an offender’s course of conduct.

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