Cyber Crime, Modern Slavery and Sentencing: Findings from the 2021/22 NI Safe Community Telephone Survey published today

Date published: 24 November 2023

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin ‘Cyber Crime, Modern Slavery and Sentencing: Findings from the 2021/22 NI Safe Community Telephone Survey’ (NISCTS).

An Official Statistics publication, the bulletin focuses on key modules contained within the NISCTS relating to respondents’:

  • experience of cyber crime and awareness of online/cyber crime-related issues
  • perceptions of modern slavery
  • perceptions of sentencing.

Key Findings

Cyber Crime

  • The majority of respondents, 54%, had not experienced cyber crime, while 12% indicated that they had been a victim. The remaining 34% indicated that someone had attempted to commit a cyber crime against them personally. Of the respondents who had been a victim, almost three quarters (73%) had reported the incident(s) to someone. The majority of incidents, 77%, were reported to a bank, building society or credit card company.
  • Less than half (46%) of respondents were confident that the criminal justice system, government and police deal effectively with cyber crime.

Perceptions of Modern Slavery

  • More than nine-in-ten (92%) respondents believed that modern slavery is present in Northern Ireland, with sexual (89%) and labour (87%) exploitation viewed as the most prevalent types. Two-fifths, 40%, felt they would recognise the signs and indicators that someone is a victim of modern slavery.
  • The vast majority (94%) of respondents stated they would report their concerns of someone being a victim of modern slavery and, when asked to whom they would report it, respondents were by far most likely to report it to the police (87%).
  • Just over half, 52%, were confident that the courts and police are effective at dealing with modern slavery.

Perceptions of Sentencing

  • When asked whether they had heard of certain sentences, respondents were most likely to have heard of a suspended and a community sentence (94% and 80% respectively).
  • Eight-in-ten (80%) respondents believed that an offender’s circumstances should be taken into account by the courts when handing out a sentence.
  • A set of questions on the purposes of sentencing was asked of respondents, more specifically on the extent to which they agree or disagree it is important that sentencing achieves certain outcomes. Of the four outcomes asked about, participants were more likely to agree that it is important sentencing protects the public (94%) and requires offenders to make amends for the harm caused (87%).

Notes to editors: 

1.The Northern Ireland Safe Community Survey (NISCS) is a representative, continuous personal interview survey of the experiences and perceptions of crime and crime-related issues of adults living in private households throughout Northern Ireland.  Previously conducted in 1994/95, 1998, 2001 and 2003/04, the survey began operating on a continuous basis in January 2005. Traditionally a face-to-face survey, interviews have been conducted via telephone from 2020/21 due to the pandemic and the change in survey mode has resulted in a break in the time series. This bulletin focuses on findings from the 2021/22 survey and will be referred to as the Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey (NISCTS).

2.The main aims of NISCTS are to:

  • measure crime victimisation rates experienced by people living in private households regardless of whether or not these crimes were reported to, or recorded by, the police.
  • measure people’s perceptions of, and reactions to, crime and criminal justice-related topics (for example, the extent to which they are concerned about crime and the effect of crime on their quality of life).
  • measure public confidence in policing and the criminal justice system.

3.The bulletin refers to fieldwork undertaken during the financial year April 2021 to March 2022, which involved 2,838 people aged 16 years and over giving complete interviews. This represents an eligible response rate of 40%.

4.Official statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access. 

5.The bulletin will be available in PDF format only from the publication section of this website

Or Analytical Services Group, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SG (Telephone: 028 9052 0185; Email:

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