Rape Crisis responds to further steep rise in recorded sexual offences

15 Oct 2015

Responding to the latest crime figures released today (15th October 2015) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which reveal a 41% rise in recorded sexual offences during the year to June 2015, bringing them to the highest level since the National Crime Recording Standard was brought in over a decade ago, Rape Crisis national spokeswoman Katie Russell said: 

“The figures revealed today are striking but are also in keeping with the consistent and ongoing rise in recorded sexual offences over the last three years. 

We know that sexually violent crimes have long been under-reported and that it is common for survivors who do choose to report to take some time, often years or even decades, to come forward. 

It is highly likely, therefore, that these figures reflect a gradual increase in survivors’ willingness to pursue criminal justice rather than an increase in the number of sexual offences being perpetrated and, crucially, large numbers of survivors of non-recent sexual violence, including many adult survivors of child sexual abuse, are likely to be represented in these numbers. 

In order to maintain this gradual apparent growth in confidence in the criminal justice system among sexual violence survivors, it is essential that, as Dame Elish Anglioni’s review recommends, ‘criminal justice practitioners...demonstrate respect, impartiality, empathy' towards those who report sexual offences and keep up efforts to improve the process for them. 

The rise in reporting to the police has been more than paralleled by the unprecedented levels of demand for our specialist Rape Crisis services in recent years; last year our network answered 165,000 helpline calls and provided ongoing services such as counselling and advocacy to more than 50,000 survivors. 

It is important to remember that the vast majority of those who’ve been sexually abused, assaulted or raped still choose not to report to the police but this makes them no less deserving of social justice in the form of access to specialist, independent, confidential Rape Crisis support that meets their specific needs.

With more than half of those specialist services currently unfunded beyond March 2016, it has never been more crucial or urgent that the Government commits to sustained, centralised funding to ensure the future of Rape Crisis work.” 

Click here for a Sky News interview with Rape Crisis on this topic.