Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Police See a Tripling in Rapes Reported

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Police See a Tripling in Rapes Reported

Article excerpt

Byline: Claire Miller and Craig Thompson Reporters craig.thompson01@trinitymirror.com

CASES of rape recorded by Northumbria police have tripled in a year.

There were 547 adult rapes recorded by the force in 2014/15, up a staggering 200 per cent from 182 the previous year.

Women's support groups and police today said the significant rise in figures could be down to more victims feeling confident in reporting sex assaults rather than an increase in rape itself.

In December 2013 the first regional strategy to tackle violence against women and girls was launched in the North East by the three regional police and crime commissioners.

Support groups believe this, along with a general increase in confidence when it comes to reporting rape, could be behind the latest figures.

Claire Phillipson runs Washington based agency Wearside Women in Need, which offers support to victims of rape and domestic violence.

She said: "The Tackling Violence Against Women strategy actively aimed to encourage women in the North East to report rape. I don't think it is a coinci dence that the following year we saw a massive increase in reporting of rapes.

"However, there are other things to take into account, such as Operation Sanctuary, which saw police actively tar geting gangs who were alleged to have attacked women.

"Perhaps there is a cultural shift also happening in which women feel they are being believed and supported as opposed to disbelieved and condemned.

"Of course, we are still a long way off things being well. Every day I deal with women who have been raped and have no intention of reporting it."

In Northumbria and neighbouring Durham, people are more than a third more likely to report child rape than the England and Wales average, according to the latest set of figures from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's Rape Monitoring Group. In Northumbria, there were 125 child rapes recorded for every 100,000 children in 2014/15, with numbers up by three quarters, from 178 in 2013/14 to 309 in 2014/15, while in Durham there were 127 child rapes recorded for every 100,000 children in 2014/15, with numbers up 28%, from 108 in 2013/14 to 138 in 2014/15. …

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