Rape victims more ‘confident’ to report crime

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THE number of rape cases reported to North East police has risen.

A report into how the attacks are dealt with by Durham Constabulary has revealed the numbers have increased, with detectives stating work to encourage victims to come forward is a reasons behind the rise.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has said rises may not be due to an increase in prevalence, but down to police improvements, victim confidence and an impact of historical abuse cases, such as those involving Jimmy Savile.

In 2009/10, Durham recorded 61 offences against adults and 59 against children, which rose to 147 adult cases between 2013/14 and 108 child cases.

In that first period, 147 suspects’ cases were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, leading to 65 charges, and last year 57 defendants were referred and 38 led to charges.

Ministry of Justice said in 2009, 48 prosecutions went to court, with 12 resulting in convictions, and in 2013 33 prosecutions went ahead, with 12 convictions.

Helen Murphy from the force’s safeguarding team, said: “Durham Constabulary and its partners have put a lot of energy into encouraging victims of rape and serious sexual offences to come forward and report it.

“In line with other forces, we have seen an increase in reporting, we believe this is due to an increased national focus on sexual violence and exploitation, which has given victims the confidence to come forward.”

Anyone who needs confidential support and would like to speak to police can call The Meadows on 301 8554.