A RAPE victim’s mother is outraged that criminals responsible for 61 sexual offences over three years have avoided court by “saying sorry” to their victims.

The cases are among 13,219 since April 2011 that Avon and Somerset Police deemed appropriate to deal with by a ‘community resolution’.

Arsonists, robbers, burglars, fraudsters and violent offenders were given the “victim focussed” resolution, which aims to reduce the number of people entering the criminal justice system and re-offending.

But the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “It’s wrong – you do the crime, you do the time.

“Fortunately, the man who raped my daughter was sent to prison and quite rightly.

“Although we don’t know how bad the sexual offences were, it’s still wrong that anyone prepared to commit a dreadful crime is free to walk the streets without being punished, apart from having to say sorry.

“If they’ve done it once, a rap over the knuckles isn’t going to be much of a deterrent.”

A police spokesman, speaking after the figures were released following a Mercury Freedom of Information request, said serious crimes including sexual offences and domestic abuse should not normally be dealt with by ‘CR’, although an Inspector could decide otherwise in certain cases.

He added: “A community resolution, which often includes restorative approaches, brings victims, offenders and communities together to decide upon a response to a particular crime.

“It is about putting the victims’ needs at the centre of the criminal justice system and finding positive solutions to crime by encouraging offenders to face up to their actions.”

CRs can only be used when the offender admits the crime and the victim gives their consent to the process.

It could involve immediate restorative disposals; victim-offender conferencing; and community conferencing.

The police spokesman added: “Restorative approaches can play an important part in reducing re-offending and reducing the number of people, particularly young people, brought into the criminal justice system.

“Restorative approaches can address the concerns of victims and offer closure for incident and offences.”