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giovedì 23 aprile 2015

More than 26,000 rapes reported in England and Wales

The number of rapes reported to police is at its highest ever level with more than 26,000 incidents recorded across England and Wales last year. Experts said the rise in the number of reported rapes and sexual offences was due in part to high profile historic cases like Jimmy Savile's 
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics showed a 32 per cent rise between 2013 and 2014.
Chalking the surge down to 'the Yewtree effect', officials said victims are now more willing to come forward with allegations than ever before. 
The figure (26,703) is more than double the number recorded between 2002 and 2003 when the first tables were compiled. 
While recording crime standards have improved in the past year, researchers said the rise in people coming forward was mostly down to high profile historic sex abuse cases such as those dealt with by Operation Yewtree
Reported rapes rose by more than 7,000 between 2014 and 2013, almost double the level as seen between any other years. 
The number of other sexual assaults also increased to 53,339, the highest number since the Office of National Statistics began gathering the data in 2002. 
There was also rise in the number of reported rapes at knife point (311 up from 238). 
Crime experienced by children aged 10-15 had decreased according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales which gathers information via door-to-door visits. 
In 2014, 767,000 reported experiencing crime on some level compared to 810,000 the previous year. 
Twelve per cent of children in the age group were recorded as having been the victims of crime, the survey found.
Campaigners agreed the 'dramatic' increase in reported rapes and sexual offences was in part the result of high profile cases like the Jimmy Savile's. 
'We have known for a long time that under-reporting is a real problem in terms of sexual offence cases.
'Previous estimates have suggested just 15% of sexual offences are reported to police for all kinds of reasons. Victims may feel fearful, ashamed or guilty. 
'One of the effects of Operation Yewtree, in the wake of Savile, has been it has brought sexual cases to the fore,' said Fay Maxted, chief executive of the Survivors Trust which represents 130 sexual violence charities. 
'The convictions of Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall have encouraged people to feel justified in coming forward. 
'All our agencies have seen dramatic increases in people coming forward - some have seen a rise of 50% - although they may not necessarily have reported to police.'
But others said authorities had 'a long way to go' before fully addressing stigmas attached to sexual violence and rape. 
'The police and the CPS have done a lot in recent years to improve the criminal justice process but there's still a long long way to go,' said Katie Russell, national spokesman for Rape Crisis England and Wales. 
Conviction rates for the past year are not yet available but are likely to show an improvement upon previous years, she added. 
'It's possible conviction rates aren't catching up because the Crown Prosecution Service is willing to prosecute more complex cases now, they have a better understanding and more of a willingness to pursue prosecutions that they may not have before.' 

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