Rape Crisis comments on latest data on recorded rapes in England and Wales

5 Nov 2015

In response to the 'digests' from HMIC's Rape Monitoring Group, which give a picture of how reported rapes are handled across all 42 police forces in England and Wales, Rape Crisis spokesperson Katie Russell said:

“Rape Crisis welcomes the Rape Monitoring Group’s commitment to transparency and to enabling scrutiny of the handling of sexual offences by the police.

The increase in recorded rapes that today’s figures reveal mirror the unprecedented level of demand we are currently experiencing for our specialist Rape Crisis services; our network supported over 50,000 sexual violence survivors on an ongoing basis last year, an increase of 50% since 2012/13, and answered 165,000 helpline calls. 

It’s positive that more sexual violence survivors are coming forward to seek support and justice as sexual offences are historically and still hugely under-reported in comparison to other crimes and survivors often live alone with their experiences for years before disclosing what’s happened to them.

Today’s figures might also suggest a steady improvement in the way police record sexual offences, which we of course welcome. 

Rape Crisis believes that the rise in recorded rapes of children reflects 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 because reported offences continue to be presented in such a way that they reflect the age at the time the offence took place, but not at reporting. 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. 

The wide disparities in the figures between different police forces also remain an issue of concern that we continue to highlight. 

Whatever else this data tells us though, it is a clear reminder that central Government and local commissioners need urgently to prioritise resources for the record numbers of sexual violence survivors now coming forward to seek the support and justice they want and deserve; currently only half of our specialist Rape Crisis support and advocacy services are funded beyond March 2016.”