An 18-year-old man was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for the rape of a 12-year-old girl in the Waterworks Park in north Belfast on 17 May 2017.
The defendant, who was 16 at the time, was found guilty of two counts of rape and sexual assault by penetration on 14 February 2019 and was sentenced at Belfast Magistrates' Court yesterday, Wednesday 12 June. He will also be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for ten years.
Detective Chief Inspector Claire McGuigan from PSNI’s Public Protection Branch said: “Rape and sexual assault are among the most serious of crimes. They have a significant and lasting impact for everyone involved, particularly the victim.
“This was an extremely harrowing and harmful act on a young girl and public protection officers worked diligently to bring the offender before the courts.
“I know it can be really difficult for someone to report a rape or any sexual assault, but the young victim in this case thankfully confided in a trusted family member and police were able to take action. The perpetrator is now in prison.
“I would encourage anyone who has been a victim to please come forward and report it to police. We treat every allegation of sexual abuse seriously and whilst we know it may be very difficult to do, please be assured that we will make it as easy as possible for you.
"You can report directly to the police via 101 and you do not have to come to a police station. Our detectives work in plain clothes and we can arrange to meet at a time and place that best suits you. I can assure you that you will be treated with the utmost sensitivity, care and respect. If you are a victim please don’t suffer in silence, come and speak to us.”
If you choose not to report, there is also a self-referral process through The Rowan.
Support is also available through:
• The 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Abuse Helpline - 0808 802 1414
• Nexus NI - 028 9032 6803 http://nexusni.org/
• The Rowan Centre free phone helpline - 0800 389 4424 / www.therowan.net
• Victim Support NI Belfast Office - 02890 243133