A statistical analysis of sentencing for child sexual abuse in institutional contexts

Karen Gelb, PhD

March 2016

ISBN 978-1-925289-44-2

Executive Summary

This report forms part of the Royal Commission’s inquiry into child sexual abuse (CSA) in institutional contexts.

As part of its broader work on institutional CSA, the Royal Commission released a report that examined issues around sentencing for these offences. That report included an examination of sentencing data for institutional CSA cases.

This report extends and expands on that sentencing study to include cases from jurisdictions other than New South Wales, and to undertake a more detailed and nuanced examination of the interactions among the factors measured.

In particular, this analysis provides a closer understanding of the interactions among the factors collected in the Royal Commission’s database to build a more nuanced picture of the nature of, and responses to, institutional CSA.

The cases in this analysis represent the tip of the iceberg of institutional CSA cases – those cases where the offending was reported, charges were laid, offenders were convicted and sentencing remarks were made available to the Royal Commission. Many victims of institutional CSA do not report their experiences to the police. Even if the offending is reported, police do not always bring charges if the accused is deceased or if the evidence is insufficient to support a prosecution. These victims do not have the opportunity to be heard in court.

While the analysis in this report does not necessarily reflect all cases of institutional CSA, its value lies in providing a detailed statistical view of those cases for which data are available.