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giovedì 5 novembre 2015
30,000 Rape Cases
The Jimmy Savile case and others of historical abuse are thought to have led to more victims coming forward
The number of rapes recorded by police has jumped by 40% in a year to nearly 30,000.
Police forces in England and Wales recorded 19,316 adult rapes in 2014/15, up 49% from 12,967 the year before, with the increase possibly down to victims feeling more able to make a report and actions to reduce police no-criming.
The number of child rapes was up 28% in a year, from 7,781 in 2013/14 to 9,949 in 2014/15, according to the latest set of figures from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s Rape Monitoring Group.
Rises in the numbers of rapes being recorded may not be due to an increase in prevalence, but the result of improvements in how the police record crimes, or may mean that victims have an increased understanding that a crime has been committed, or feel more confident in being believed when reporting what happened to them.
As an example, the report says, it may be that in the wake of publicity associated with the late Jimmy Savile and other historical abuse cases, more adult survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as more recent victims, have felt empowered to come forward to tell the police about sexual abuse.
There has been an 87% increase in recorded rapes between October 2012, when Operation Yewtree began, and March 2015.
Increases may also be down to work to stop the wrong no-criming of rape. An inspection of police forces carried out between December 2013 and August 2014 found sexual offences were under-recorded by 26%, compared to 19% for all crimes.
A fifth of decisions to no-crime rape were wrong, and in a fifth of cases (22%) the victim was not told of the decision.
The proportion of adult rapes transferred or cancelled, previously known as no-crime, in England and Wales has dropped from 15% in 2010/11 to 6% in 2014/15, while for child rapes it is down from 7% to 4%.
However, rape is likely to still be under-reported - the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales found that, of respondents who had experienced a serious sexual assault (including rape) since the age of 16, two thirds of the victims told somebody about their most recent experience, but only one in six told the police.
Overall, the police charge/summon rate for adult rapes in England and Wales has dropped from 18% in 2012/13 to 12% in 2014/15, while for child rapes it is down from 39% to 16%.
Lower charge, prosecution and conviction rates may be because victims are unwilling to support prosecution or because, with historic crimes, the offender has since died.
However, it may also be a warning sign that cases that there are issues within the police and CPS systems.
In 2014, reflecting the seriousness of the offence, nearly every convicted rapist received a custodial sentence; 16 offenders received a caution (compared with 4,556 police-recorded charge/summons in the financial year 2014/15). Of these 16 cautions: 9 were for males aged 10-14; 5 were for males aged 15-17; and 2 were for males aged 18-20.5
Chair of the Rape Monitoring Group, Wendy Williams, said: “This data provides a starting point to allow people - from the public to police and crime commissioners - to scrutinise how rape is dealt with in their area, and ask important questions of the local criminal justice services.
“It does however need to be treated carefully; the data is collected by different organisations, in different ways and for slightly different time periods. For instance, a high number of reported rapes in one of the 42 areas might indicate that victims are more willing to report rape, rather than a particularly high rate of rapes for instance.
“Without data which allows direct comparisons, we can’t see what good or bad practice currently exists and it is not possible to track the progress of individual cases of rape through the criminal justice system. The Rape Monitoring Group regularly reviews these digests to try to enhance the quality and quantity of the information so that the right questions can be asked. In the meantime this data provides a platform for further discussion.”