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Bradshaw says delays in justice for sexual crime victims unacceptable

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said delays in delivering justice and support for victims of sexual crime are unacceptable, and has called for urgent action to address the issue. 

The South Belfast MLA stated was speaking after a report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate said processes for dealing with rape and other serious sexual crimes here take too long and fail to deliver an acceptable outcome for victims. 

"Today's report makes for alarming reading, but many people across Northern Ireland will be unsurprised by it," said Ms Bradshaw. 

"The stark warning that victims of sexual crime often come to withdraw from the criminal justice system entirely because it has failed them, could not be clearer. 

"It is clear from the report in the period since the institutions collapsed the impetus has been lost in delivering on the recommendations of previous reports. Still now, the number of convictions per sexual crime reported is below one in ten. 

"As a result it is no surprise victims going through such a traumatic experience would give up on the criminal justice system altogether. The system seems to set out to delay the quest for justice and does little to address the trauma and intrusion experienced by the victim in such an adversarial process. 

"Yet again, we have another example of why those with the biggest mandate have the biggest responsibility. It is time to stop shirking it. Victims deserve better."