Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse 'hidden' within latest crime stats

17 Jul 2015

In response to the release of crime figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that showed 37% increase in recorded sexual offences, Rape Crisis spokeswoman Katie Russell said:

“Rape Crisis welcomes this report that highlights continued increases in recorded sexual violence offences. Any rise in the numbers of sexual violence survivors accessing justice is positive; nonetheless, sexual violence continues to be hugely under-reported compared with other serious crimes.

We believe that the rise in recorded sexual offences is partly a result of improved recording practices on the part of the police, which is something we’ve called for for many years. 

Rape Crisis also believes that these figures reflect an increase in the number of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse reporting to the police. However, it is not easy to evidence this from the existing published data. Reported offences are recorded in such a way that they reflect the age at the time the offence took place, while the age at the time of reporting is not routinely recorded or collated by the police, Crown Prosecution Service or Government. This is of concern; adult survivors of child sexual abuse have been ‘hidden’ for far too long and continue to be unseen within published statistics.  

Rape Crisis therefore calls for age at the time of reporting a sexual offence, as well as age at the time the offence was committed, to be recorded and reported on in order to improve understanding of and responses to sexual violence.  

Last year, our Rape Crisis network in England and Wales provided ongoing services to over 50,000 individuals, half of which are adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  It is high time adult survivors are represented and acknowledged.”