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Sexual Offences Recorded by Police at Highest Level Since Records Began

22 Jan 2016

On Thursday 21st January 2016, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), previously known as the British Crime Survey, announced that sexual offences recorded by the police had continued to rise with the latest figures (to end of September 2015) up 36% on the previous year; equivalent to an additional 26,606 offences. 

The numbers of rapes (33,431) and other sexual offences (66,178) were at the highest level since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in year ending March 2003. 

Rape Crisis England & Wales national spokesperson Katie Russell said: 

“We’ve seen a steady and significant increase in rapes and other sexual offences being reported to the police in recent years and this is paralleled by the unprecedented levels of need and demand we are experiencing for our specialist, independent Rape Crisis services.

It’s not possible to know the exact detail of what lies behind these figures but it’s likely that increased reporting reflects a gradual increase in sexual violence survivors’ willingness to go through the criminal justice process.  It’s also been suggested the increase might be partly due to improved recording practice on the part of the police, which Rape Crisis welcomes. 

Our frontline experience has been that many adult survivors of child sexual abuse and others who were raped or sexually assaulted some time ago have been prompted to seek support and justice, sometimes after years or even decades of silence, due to the increased public and media profile of sexual violence in recent years. We've been glad to support unprecendented numbers of survivors through our specialist services because we know that too many live alone with their experiences due to a complex range of factors including shame and fear of not being believed or of being blamed by others for what happened to them.

As the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is only likely to prompt more survivors to seek support, it is now vital that the Government prioritises funds for specialist Rape Crisis services as a matter of urgency.

It’s also important to remember that the vast majority of those who have experienced sexual violence will still never report to the police and for those that do the criminal justice process can be gruelling and take far too long, so there is undoubtedly still some way to go to ensure the needs, rights and freedoms of survivors are met and upheld.”